“Defensive players have dominated the last 10 drafts for OSU, as three of the top four positions picked most often have been: 1. linebackers (12); 2. defensive backs (11); 4. defensive linemen (8).”
— Tom Deinhart, BTN.com
With the NFL Draft starting in under a week, it’s time to get hyped about where this present group of Ohio State Buckeyes will end up going. From a stacked defensive back position (again) to the offensive line, there will be numerous Buckeyes that will hear their name called in Philadelphia at the draft.
But, OSU’s dominance on the defensive side of the ball has created a track record of Scarlet and Gray getting selected to play in the NFL. From Jim Tressel to Urban Meyer, the trend has continued — and with Meyer, the trend has skyrocketed.
BTN.com did the math, and worked out the last decade’s worth of Buckeye draft selections. Linebackers led the group with 12 members being picked, with Vernon Gholston (2008), Ryan Shazier (2014) and Darron Lee (2016) going in the first round. One selection behind the LB position was defensive back—which had 11 Buckeyes selected over the past 10 drafts. First rounders for DBs include Malcolm Jenkins (2009) and Bradley Roby (2015).
In this time frame, eight other Bucks have heard their name called in the first round of the NFL Draft, bringing the total to 13. The highest selected pick of them all? Joey Bosa, who was taken third in the draft last season.
With defensive backs Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley being predicted as high first round picks, the path to making it to the NFL clearly runs through Columbus, Ohio.
“Ohio State's inability to stretch the field with a vertical passing game is not a quick fix. There's not one play that Wilson can install to remedy the issue.”
— Bill Landis, cleveland.com
With the spring game now in the rear view mirror, the Buckeyes had the chance to showcase their new players, coaches and schemes to Buckeye nation. Moving forward, one of the biggest schemes that needs to be worked on, one that was the bugaboo for the program last season, is in the passing department.
Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson have been brought into the coaching staff to try and sort out the issues in the passing game. At times last season, J.T. Barrett was soaring passes away from receivers, and receivers had issues handling Barrett’s passes that seemed semi-catchable.
Bill Landis of cleveland.com wrote about how there isn’t some magical fix to the Buckeyes passing woes — which have escalated since the team won the national championship in 2014. Actually, the fix really isn’t magical at all: it just takes synergy amongst the receivers and quarterback.
Landis talked about how quarterback coach Day and receivers coach Zach Smith had their respective positions break down film together, in hopes that with all the minds working together, they can understand one another when the ball is thrown on gameday.
While the problem isn’t fixed, yet, there is still summer camp left before the Buckeyes ramp up their efforts before the season starts against Indiana. In the past two seasons, the passing game has been one of the biggest reasons for why the Buckeyes missed getting back to the national championship game.
If that problem gets solved, then expect Ohio State to be in the driver’s seat for a playoff bid — and maybe even Barrett showing up as a Heisman finalist.
"I'll never get over it because you never do with those kind of losses," Saban told ESPN this week. "I never got over the returned field goal at Auburn. I never got over playing poorly against Ohio State and losing that game late.”
— Nick Saban on the recent tough losses he’s had at Alabama, as reported by Chris Low, ESPN.com
College football offseason is taking form, but that doesn’t stop coaches from talking. Recently, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban talked about the national title loss to Clemson — and some other notable losses he’s endured as the man in charge of Alabama.
While the ‘Kick Six’ loss to Auburn was mentioned, the one Buckeye nation might connect with the most is the 2015 Sugar Bowl. Playing poorly in the game was a reason why Saban said couldn’t get over the loss.
Did Alabama play poorly in the game, or were the Buckeyes just a better team than the Crimson Tide? The Buckeye defense forced three interceptions, and the offense outgained the Tide on rushing yards, passing yards, first downs and total offense.
The OSU offensive line also created this hole for Ezekiel Elliott to run through for 81 yards.
Was it a tough loss for ‘Bama? Absolutely. But it appears that Ohio State was just the better team that night in New Orleans.
Stick to Sports
• Polar bears and the Columbus Zoo.
• The $2,145 Balenciaga bag.
• An arrest has been made in the Borussia Dortmund bus bombing.
• It’s been one year since Prince passed away.