Meyer's Draft History: Some Buckeye Selections Already Making a Splash, Others Still Works in Progress

By 11W Staff on March 31, 2018 at 5:45 pm
Joey Bosa is already one of the best defenders in the league. The jury is still out on Eli Apple.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State's recent NFL Draft history has been nothing short of spectacular, and the run is set to continue on April 27 when the 2018 version gets underway. Denzel Ward and a number of other Buckeyes will wait for their names to be called just as Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, and others did in years past. 

The 2013 NFL Draft was the first that included those who played under Meyer in Columbus. Since that time, the Buckeyes have seen several of their own go on to find stardom at the next level. Some others are still looking to take that next step.

The Greatest Hits

Ryan Shazier • LB • Pittsburgh Steelers • Drafted: Round 1, Pick 15 (2014)

Ohio State fans can thank Jim Tressel for Shazier's decision to sign with the Buckeyes. After three seasons in Columbus, Shazier blew up the NFL Combine with a 4.38 40-yard dash while weighing in at 237 pounds. Since being drafted by the Steelers, he's been a two-time Pro Bowl selection and earned the distinction of being one of the best young linebackers in the league. 

Shazier has been ruled out for the 2018 season as he recovers from a spinal injury, but he's made it clear that he plans on playing the game again in the future.

Michael Thomas • WR • New Orleans Saints • Drafted: Round 2, Pick 47 (2016)

The New Orleans Saints seem to be quite fond of the talent that spews from Columbus, and Michael Thomas has already come through in a big way. The new favorite target of Drew Brees, Thomas recorded 1,000+ yards in each of his first two seasons and scored 16 touchdowns over that time. 

He's not the biggest or the fastest wideout in the league, but Thomas is an exceptional route runner with tremendous hands. He's already considered to be one of the best in the game.

Ezekiel Elliott • RB • Dallas Cowboys • Drafted: Round 1, Pick 4 (2016)

Though Zeke Elliott's 2017 campaign was abbreviated due to suspension, he still amassed over 1,200 total yards and 10 touchdowns. Elliott led the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie in 2016 and earned a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.

There had been some question marks about where he'd end up going in the 2016 draft. Running backs have been devalued of late, so it did come as a bit of a surprise when the Cowboys went in that direction with the fourth overall pick. 

Though the Cowboys took a step back in 2017, Elliott's presence – along with Dak Prescott – continues to have Dallas fans excited about the team's future. 

Joey Bosa • DE • Los Angeles Chargers • Drafted: Round 1, Pick 3 (2016)

Joey Bosa is probably already a top-five defensive player in the NFL. He missed the first four weeks of his rookie season due to a hamstring injury, but he's been beyond impressive ever since that time. He recorded 10.5 sacks as a rookie and 12.5 in 2017.

Coming out of college, there had been some chatter that Bosa could be the No. 1 pick in the Draft. He ended up being selected by the Chargers at No. 3 overall and forms what is likely the game's best defensive end duo with Melvin Ingram.

Bosa was the league's 2016 Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler in 2017.

Marshon Lattimore • CB • New Orleans Saints • Drafted: Round 1, Pick 11 (2017)

Lattimore burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2017 and took home the Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. The Pro Bowl selection recorded a Pro Football Focus grade of 90.5, which was good enough for No. 4 at the cornerback spot. 

The addition of Lattimore was a key component in the turnaround for the New Orleans defense. The unit finished No. 27 in the league in 2016 but jumped up to No. 17 last year. A fluke play against the Vikings was all that kept the Saints from facing off against the Eagles for the NFC crown. 

Lattimore's 2016 season in Columbus was a memorable one, and some past hamstring injuries were the only real questions regarding his draft status. 

Questions Remain 

Devin Smith • WR • New York Jets • Drafted: Round 2, Pick 37 (2015)

Devin Smith's skills in the deep passing game were pretty mesmerizing. Still, it was a bit surprising that the Jets drafted him as highly as they did. It certainly hasn't helped that the Jets still don't have a competent quarterback, but Smith hasn't been able to stay healthy. 

Multiple torn ACLs (to the same knee) have made it impossible for Smith to do much on the field. He's played in just 14 games so far and has recorded 10 receptions for 135 yards and one touchdown. 

Right now there's some uncertainty as to whether Smith will remain with the Jets. The team has a number of wideouts but none of them are exactly world beaters. With the Jets expected to take a quarterback (again) in 2018, let's hope that the former Buckeye can get healthy and turn things around. 

Braxton Miller • WR • Houston Texans • Drafted: Round 3, Pick 85 (2016)

It is perhaps unfair to talk about "hype" with a third-round pick, but I think a lot of us were excited to see what Braxton Miller could do as a wideout at the next level. 

Miller was named as the Texans' third wide receiver as a rookie. That in itself was quite the accomplishment for someone who had only played the position for a year. He missed the last few weeks of his rookie year with a shoulder injury. Thus far in his two seasons Miller has recorded 34 receptions for 261 yards and a pair of scores. 

He's never going to be a downfield deep threat, but the emergence of Deshaun Watson could lead to plenty of opportunities out of the slot. 

Darron Lee • LB • New York Jets • Drafted: Round 1, Pick 20 (2016)

Darron Lee's 2016 NFL Combine was a memorable one. He recorded a 4.47 40-yard dash and led the linebackers in just about every major category. Lee has been up and down thus far in New York, but did take a step in the right direction in 2017. 

He recorded 73 tackles as a rookie and 94 in his second season. The biggest criticisms thus far have been his ability to diagnose plays and taking the correct angles. Jets' fans also seem to be concerned about his size despite the great athleticism. 

Lee was recruited by the Buckeyes as an athlete before ultimately settling in at linebacker. After playing on the outside in Columbus, he now mans one of the interior spots for the Jets' 3-4 defense. There's still plenty of time for Lee to live up to his fairly lofty draft selection.

Eli Apple • CB • New York Giants • Drafted: Round 1, Pick 10 (2016)

Eli Apple's tenure in New York has been downright disastrous at times, and it was especially bad in 2017. Tensions between Apple and his teammates began to take off during the season, and last December he was described as a "cancer" by Giants' safety Landon Collins. He also has been fined – partially for retweeting Eleven Warriors during a game – and suspended for arguing with the coaching staff.

Family issues have been rumored to be the root cause for Apple's tumultuous time in New York, but thus far he remains with the Giants. Lately there has been a bit of good news as new head coach Pat Shurmur has agreed to give Apple a "clean slate" heading into the 2018 season.

He clearly has plenty of talent, so let's hope that this one works out for all parties involved.

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