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Ohio State’s 2012 NFL Draft class was a bit of a head-scratcher

Boom Herron and DeVier Posey were in the 2012 draft class, and had wildly different career trajectories.

Divisional Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL Draft class out of Ohio State featured some of the big-name offensive weapons featured in the final years of the Tressel era, and a handful of talented offensive lineman. But, despite the high expectations for this group, most players weren’t able to make their mark as a long-term NFL player — and then there’s Nate Ebner who’s flaunting two Super Bowl rings.

2012 NFL Draft Results

Player Position Draft Pick Team
Player Position Draft Pick Team
Mike Adams OT Round 2 (No. 56) Pittsburgh Steelers*
DeVier Posey WR Round 3 (No. 68) Houston Texans*
Dan Herron RB Round 6 (No. 191) Cincinnati Bengals*
Nate Ebner DB/ST Round 6 (No. 196) New Englad Patriots
J.B. Shugarts OT Undrafted Free Agent Cleveland Browns*
Andrew Sweat LB Undrafted Free Agent Cleveland Browns*
Mike Brewster C Undrafted Free Agent Jacksonville Jaguars*
*No longer with this team

Still competing

Nate Ebner: The two-time Super Bowl winner has spent his entire career with the New England Patriots, and thanks to a new deal in 2018, he’ll be with them at least a little longer. Ebner’s NFL career has been predominately as a special team’s guru, ranking among the top players in the league in special teams tackles — tying for the No. 1 spot in 2016 with 19.

While his on-field performance is noteworthy enough, it was what he did during the 2016 offseason that made the Buckeye a household name. After spending the spring training with the Olympic rugby team, Ebner was named to the final roster for Team USA as they competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. He didn’t come away with a medal, but was a source of team pride for the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick, who hosted a viewing party for the first rugby match of The Games.

He finished the 2017 season on IR after suffering a torn ACL, but should be back in Belichick’s lineup at the start of the 2018 season.

DeVier Posey: The wide receiver saw playing time for the Texans in his first two years in the league, but with his 21-of-39 catch rate — despite the 242 yards — he saw playing time in only one game during the 2014 season. Posey was traded to the Jets in early 2015 but was cut ahead of the regular season. Same the next year, when he signed with Denver only to be cut in the preseason.

Not ready to give up on his dream, DeVier went and visited his brother Julian, for one of his Canadian Football League games. After seeing that there was an alternative to keep playing football, Posey signed with the Toronto Argonauts and quickly became a star in the league. He led his team to the 2017 CFL Grey Cup — their version of the Super Bowl — and was named Grey Cup MVP for his performance, which included a league record-setting 100-yard touchdown.

All it takes is one Grey Cup MVP award to garner some NFL attention, and Posey was signed to a reserve/futures contract with the Baltimore Ravens following the 2017 season. Whether or not the Buckeye will end up on an active roster come the regular season is yet to be seen, but it’s good to see he’s getting another chance to be the standout player he once was at Ohio State.


Taste of success

Dan Herron: The Buckeye running back went from hearing “BOOOOOOM” shouted weekly in the ‘Shoe, to bouncing around the league without ever taking a firm hold on a roster spot. He played in three games at the end of his rookie season for the Bengals, but spent most of the year on the team’s practice squad. In 2013, Herron was cut from Cincinnati’s PS and was signed by the Colts, where he’d go on to have the most success in his NFL career.

The running back’s first season with the Colts was cut short due to injury, but he showed promise with 33 yards on five carries, along with some special team work. He became a featured back for Indianapolis in the season that followed, with Herron playing in all 16 games — even starting in three -- and notching 351 yards and one touchdown on 78 carries that season, in addition to 173 yards on 21 catches.

Things got a little murky for Herron after the 2014 season. The Colts placed him on IR just ahead of the 2015 regular season, before ultimately cutting him in mid-September, he then played for the Bills for a couple of months before going back to Indy to finish out the season.

Despite an NFL career that included 468 rushing and 277 receiving yards, it’s surprising that the Buckeye only had one touchdown to his name. The Bills would sign the Buckeye again during the 2016 offseason, but Herron ultimately wouldn’t get back onto a final 53-man roster.

Mike Adams: After signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the offensive tackle spent the better part of the next three seasons in and out of the starting rotation. Adams had to undergo back surgery in early 2015, and was subsequently listed on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list ahead of the season.

The Buckeye didn’t pass his physical with the Steelers the year after and was cut, but still somehow managed a second-chance and was signed by the Chicago Bears. He played in 12 games for the Bears in 2016 before suffering another back injury, ending his season, and ultimately, his career.

Mike Brewster: The center/guard out of Ohio State was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012 as an undrafted free agent. He did enough to not only make the final 53-man roster, but also earned playing time and the eventual left guard starting spot for seven games his rookie season. But then, the Buckeye broke his hand against the Bills and would spend the rest of the year on IR. The same would happen the following season, with Brewster playing in 14 games — starting three — before being placed on IR in December.

With lingering injury issues, Brewster was released following the 2013 season, and spent a good portion of 2014 taking up a practice squad spot, first with the Miami Dolphins, and then with the New Orleans Saints. The same would happen ahead of the 2015 season, with Brewster eventually being cut by the Saints ahead of the 53-man final roster. The guard had a taste of what it’d be like to be a starter in the NFL, but injuries early on derailed his potential.

So, what is Brewster doing now? Well, he attended the American Football Coaches Association convention earlier this year, and posted his resume above the urinals in hopes of landing a coaching job ahead of the 2018 season. (Yep, that’s one way to get a job.)


Didn’t quite stick

J.B. Shugarts: The tackle was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns, but was a practice squad designation through most of his rookie season. In December of his first year, he was then signed to the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad. He spent the 2013 offseason on both the Cowboys and Jets rosters, before being cut ahead of the regular season. Same story in 2014, Shugarts spent time with the Lions and Buccaneers before being a preseason cut — his short stint with the Bucs was the list time the Buckeye was on an NFL roster, having never played a snap.

Andrew Sweat: The linebacker out of Ohio State had a bit of a unique experience as he prepared to make the transition to NFL player. After living with scary concussion symptoms in the months following his final season as a Buckeye in 2012, Sweat was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns. On the morning he was preparing to report for training camp, Sweat fell in the shower, hitting his head and those concussion symptoms he had recently been plagued with returned. The Buckeye considered the misfortune a sign, and decided to walk away from the game before he even got started.


This is the final in a five-part series, evaluating the draft classes out of Ohio State from 2012-2016, in reverse order.