“The boys are gonna have it out for him. We can put hands on him now. … The boys were already hot for what he was doing last year. Try to one-hand something while you’re with the Jets, you’re gonna catch a forearm.”
Terrelle Pryor Sr. has been a bit of a polarizing player, even during his Ohio State days. While the dude is immeasurably talented on the field, his off-field shenanigans were an issue in college and it seems like his attitude in practice — at least in 2017 — is an issue at the next level.
From quarterback to wide receiver, Pryor is one of the few athletes to make the transition so late in his career and still find success. After his 1,000-plus yard season with the Browns in 2016, he signed a one-year “prove it” deal with Washington in 2017.
Despite the expectations the Buckeye wideout had for himself with his new team, Pryor competed on a bum ankle for part of the season before ultimately going on IR and undergoing surgery. He posted up only 240 yards and one touchdown with Washington, and eventually signed with the New York Jets in the 2018 offseason — before undergoing a second surgery to repair his ankle.
So with all that said, the quote from his former teammate on defense, Zach Brown, is a bit of a head-scratcher. The Jets will host joint practices with Pryor’s former NFC East team later on in the summer, and it sounds like Brown and the other Washington defenders are licking their chops at being able to take Pryor to the ground.
It’s hard to say whether that snark is because Pryor had a penchant for showing off during practice — which is a little easier when Coach gives you a non-contact designation — or whether there were more personal differences between the two, but either way, Pryor should watch his back as he gets ready to see former teammates lined up against him heading into the season.
“Price has also been getting some light work in at OTAs, so it’s no real surprise to see him getting full medical clearance going into the summer break.”
Ever since the NFL Combine, folks have been talking about the return timetable for Buckeye center Billy Price. Initially pegged as a top first-round draft pick, he suffered a partially torn pec during the bench press in Indy and had to undergo surgery to repair it, missing all of the on-field workouts and all the events later at Ohio State’s Pro Day.
Price was always upfront with NFL teams and with the media about the diagnosis and prognosis, and he announced on Monday that he’s been fully cleared to return to the grid iron.
He missed out on rookie camp and OTAs, and was only able to participate in a limited capacity during minicamp, but Price has been dedicated to his recovery and was able to keep his expected timeline. Even before the draft, Price was saying he’d be back in time for training camp, and now it’s official.
The Bengals had a really big need for some offensive line help, and with Price’s talent, combined with his dedication and quick learning, should be an instant contributor when the team suits up for training camp in a few weeks.
“He is one of the best press guys that I have seen in the last few years at this level. He still has a ways to go, but coming in, he has a base of knowledge that is pretty good.”
Ohio State DB Denzel Ward was the first Buckeye off the board during the 2018 NFL Draft, and he’s getting an opportunity to prove he was worth it. He’s drawn a lot of attention throughout OTAs and minicamp, and his teammates in particular, have taken notice.
Williams touted Ward’s attitude when he joined the locker room, and the Buckeye’s willingness and eagerness to learn from the veterans around him. This same attitude is what stood out to his teammates who vouched for him getting reps with the first team.
“When a veteran comes to me and says, ‘Hey coach, we’re better when Denzel is out there,’” Williams said. “‘So really? Now you’re taking ownership of him? Oh really? Now you’re mentoring him? We’ll see. I will give him a couple of reps out there, and we will see.’”
To move up in the depth chart before training camp even starts is a pretty big nod to the potential the team and players see in Ward. Williams noted that the OSU product — along with 2017 rookie Myles Garrett — have earned the respect of their teammates faster than almost any other rookie he’s seen.
Ward’s got a long line of successful Buckeye DBs that came before him, but with the early looks, he definitely has an opportunity to be the third Ohio State player in a row to earn Defensive Rookie of the Year.
“He has been way ahead of the curve,” Lewis told WCPO. “We’re just excited about that. He’s going to really complement and add to our football team right away. I’m just excited because he’s probably out here a little mature beyond his years right now.”
One of two Buckeyes that the Bengals drafted this spring was Cincinnati-native Sam Hubbard. Having spent his time at Ohio State sharing a rotation with one of the two Bosa brothers, Hubbard is mature for his experience level and has already gotten the attention of head coach Marvin Lewis.
“He’ll be part of our rotation in the defensive line group,” Lewis said. “That’s what I see for him looking into the future, very early right away this year. That’s what we were looking for when we picked him.”
Getting reps as a rookie is a big deal, no matter who you are, and Hubbard has seemingly already etched his name in the rotation. Having to share a snap count in Columbus should help Hubbard transition to a defense full of NFL veterans. He’s used to sharing the spotlight with talented teammates and having a team-first mentality — not to mention it puts a few less miles on his body early on.
There’s still a lot of offseason left before preseason games get underway, and these rookies have yet to practice in pads, but Hubbard’s potential is definitely there, and it’s good that the coaching staff is seeing it early on and will be able to better incorporate the Buckeye into their game plan for this fall.
“Who are the premium players that will be under 25 at the start of the 2018 season?”
Harrison released his All-Under 25 team last week, and it included four Ohio State alumni as the best at their position for their age. The crazy part, is that these Buckeyes will be under 25 for at least a couple more years, with two (Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa) preparing for their third-year in the league, and the other two (Pat Elflein and Marshon Lattimore) heading into Year 2.
The last few draft classes out of Ohio State have sent players to the NFL that had the potential to be among the top-tier of the talent pool, and with postseason accolades and pre-season excitement, they continue to make Buckeye Nation proud.
RB: Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)
Despite the controversy, Elliott is elite when he’s on the field. Through two seasons, he is averaging 104.6 rush yards per game. His yards per carry went down last year, but he still sports a 4.6 career average -- and he’s scored 25 touchdowns in 25 games.
C: Pat Elflein (Minnesota Vikings)
Yet another rookie makes the All-Under-25 Team, and for good reason. Elflein helped the Vikings improve in the one area they had to get better: up front. The unit allowed 11 fewer sacks than in 2016, and went from 32nd to seventh in rushing.
DE: Joey Bosa (Los Angeles Chargers)
Bosa, the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year, is already a force after just two seasons in the league. Despite not playing a snap until Week 5 of his rookie campaign, the former Ohio State star has posted 23 sacks through 28 games. He and Melvin Ingram form a prolific pass-rushing duo thanks, in large part, to Bosa’s incredible motor.
CB: Marshon Lattimore (New Orleans Saints)
Lattimore received many accolades last year, including the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year, and gets yet another here. He narrowly edges out Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White. The performances of Lattimore and Kamara allowed Sean Payton to change the way the Saints viewed things philosophically. Instead of partaking in weekly track meets, New Orleans was able to employ the simple formula of running the football and playing much stronger defense.
There’s a good chance too, with some of the incoming rookies, that this under 25 team next season includes a couple more Buckeyes.
Other NFL-Buckeye bits
- The Los Angeles Chargers (Joey Bosa, Cardale Jones) and the New Orleans Saints (J.T. Barrett, Vonn Bell, Kurt Coleman, Ted Ginn Jr., Marshon Lattimore, Michael Thomas) will hold a joint practice this summer, and it’ll be a big-ole Buckeye reunion.
- Jalin Marshall still hasn’t signed with an NFL team this offseason, but he is playing on a team in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) in July.