Can Ohio State's 2019 NFL Hopefuls Have a Similar Early Impact As the 2016 Draft Class?

By David Regimbal on February 28, 2019 at 10:10 am
Nick Bosa
Eleven Warriors

Ohio State's 2016 NFL draft class is shaping up to be one for the ages.

The Buckeyes have produced a number of great professionals, highlighted by impressive draft classes from 1997, 2004 and 2006. But the '16 group is off to a fast start with no signs of slowing down.

New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas is shredding NFL secondaries at a clip the league has never seen. He obliterated the NFL record for most receptions in his first three seasons, hauling in 321 catches to break the record of 288 previously held by Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

When healthy, Joey Bosa has been one of the most effective and productive pass-rushers in the league. He's registered 28.5 sacks in just 35 games and totaled 101 solo tackles and four forced fumbles to anchor the Los Angeles Chargers defense.

Then there's Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott, who burst onto the scene with 1,631 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in his rookie season. A suspension cut his second year nearly in half, but through three seasons he's still racked up 5,247 total yards and 34 total touchdowns.

That trio is leading the charge, but several others like Vonn Bell, Taylor Decker and Darron Lee have laid solid foundations and seem primed for big careers.

The 10 former Buckeyes in Indianapolis for this week's combine (the most from any school outside of Clemson and Alabama), have the chance to make a similar impact.

Nick Bosa is projecting to be a better pro than his older brother as the near-consensus No. 1 overall prospect in this year's draft. This, despite the fact that his junior season was cut short just two-and-a-half games into the year, is a credit to his absurd potential.

Along the defensive line, Dre'Mont Jones joins Bosa as someone who could make an instant impact. The 6'3", 286-pound  lineman came to Ohio State as a defensive end, but shifted to the interior and became one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the country. 

The Buckeyes are sending a wave of playmakers to the league in wideouts Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin, along with running back Mike Weber. All have the potential to be solid starters at the next level.

But there's one player who has the opportunity to end decades of positional futility for Ohio State. 

Buckeye quarterbacks haven't faired all that well at the next level. Despite their collegiate success, guys like J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller, Terrelle Pryor and Troy Smith haven't (or never) found their footing in the league.

Dwayne Haskins can change that.

Ohio State hasn't had a quarterback drafted in the first round since 1982, when Art Schlichter was selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Colts. Schlichter didn't pan out, though, throwing just three career touchdowns against 11 interceptions before a gambling scandal bounced him from the league.

But Haskins has all the intangibles to succeed at the next level. He can make all the throws and has the build and physique to stand tall and firm in the pocket. 

The key for Haskins is landing in the right situation. As a one-year starter with just 14 starts under his belt, he'll need to land in a good, supportive system to continue his maturation process.

If Haskins puts it all together, he'll have the chance to lead a promising 2019 draft class.

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