The Last Five Buckeyes To Be Drafted By The Cleveland Browns

By James Grega on May 3, 2018 at 8:39 am
Denzel Ward
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cleveland Browns drafted Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick last week, it marked the first time they had drafted a former Buckeye since the 2009 draft, when Brian Robiskie came off the board in the second round. 

Recent history has not seen many Buckeyes make the trip up I-71 to Cleveland, but when it has happened, success has not consistently found the Ohio State products. 

We decided to take a look at the last five Ohio State players to be drafted by the Browns, how their NFL careers panned out and how Ward is hoping to buck that trend. 

Brian Robiskie, Wide Receiver, 2009

Robiskie was taken by the Cleveland Browns with the 36th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 draft after a very successful run with the Buckeyes. 

Robiskie played in a pair of national title games at Ohio State, and was the Buckeyes' top receiver his final two years in scarlet and gray. At 6-foot-2, he had the size to be a solid NFL wide receiver and was selected by the team that had previously employed his father, Terry, as an assistant and even interim head coach.

His career never panned out as a Brown or elsewhere in the NFL, however. Robiskie's best season came in 2010, when he caught 29 passes for 310 yards and three scores. He played just five seasons in the league, catching 43 passes. He last played with the Tennessee Titans as a member of their practice squad in 2014. 

Darnell Sanders, Tight End, 2002

Sanders was selected with the 122nd overall pick in the fourth round of the 2002 draft by the Browns in just their fourth year back in the NFL. 

A Cleveland native, the move seemed to work for both sides, but it never panned out. Sanders, who caught nine touchdown passes in his Ohio State career, played just three seasons in the NFL. He finished his career with 18 receptions for 118 yards and two scores, ending his career in 2004 with the Atlanta Falcons. 

Craig Powell, Linebacker, 1995

The final first-round draft pick by the Browns before they were moved to Baltimore, Powell was taken 30th overall by Cleveland in the 1995 draft. 

Perhaps one of Ohio State's bigger draft busts in recent history, Powell was a three-year starter as a Buckeye, but played in just 14 NFL games in three seasons before eventually landing in the XFL with the San Francisco Demons. He collected just 26 tackles with the Demons before his football career ended. 

Mark Krerowicz, Guard, 1985

The Browns went seven years without drafting a Buckeye between 1995-02, while they didn't have a team for the better part of the stretch from 1995-99, but they previously went 10 years without drafting a Buckeye when they still had a team.

Krerowicz was taken with the 147th overall pick in the sixth round of the 1985 draft after starting his final two years at Ohio State along the offensive line. He was even named a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1984, but the college success did not translate to the next level. He played in just three games in as many seasons before his NFL career came to an end. 

Tom Skladany, Punter, 1977

The Ohio State record holder for longest field goal in school history to this day, Skladany was selected with the 46th overall pick in the second round by the Browns in the 1977 draft. 

Skladany never appeared in a game for the Browns, sitting out the entire 1977 season in a contract dispute with Cleveland. His rights were eventually traded to the Detroit Lions, where he spent all but one of his six NFL seasons. 

He was named a Pro Bowl selection in 1981, but was out of the league by the 1984 season after a final year with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

Fast Forward: Denzel Ward, Cornerback, 2018

Ward is the highest Buckeye taken in the draft ever by the Cleveland Browns at No. 4 overall. The last time the Browns spent a top-15 pick on an Ohio State prospect was in 1964, when they drafted wide receiver Paul Warfield. That pick worked out for the Clevelanders, who went on to win the NFL Championship that year with Warfield being named a Pro Bowl selection. 

Ward isn't likely to play on a championship-winning team in 2018 with the Browns, a team coming off of just the second 0-16 season in NFL history. However, he will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact because of his ability to play press-man coverage and physical play. 

The Macedonia native is hoping to reverse the trend of Buckeyes fizzling out early in Cleveland, and appears to have a good chance to do so. 

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