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You’re Nuts: Which former Ohio State player has been the best in the NFL this year?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

San Francisco 49ers v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

With the ninth week of the NFL season wrapping up on Monday, we are now halfway through the NFL season. All of the teams in the league have played at least eight games this year, with some playing nine games already because their bye week falls later in the season. This is the first season that NFL teams will play 17 regular season games.

Currently, the NFL is littered with former Ohio State Buckeyes. There are almost 50 Ohio State alums in the NFL. Almost every team in the NFL has at least one former Buckeye on their roster. Every week, there are numerous Ohio State players that make a huge impact on the action in the professional ranks.

Since we are at the halfway point of the season, now is a good time to try and figure out who has been the best Ohio State alum in the NFL thus far. While a lot of the consideration will go to the player’s performance on the field, we are also going to factor in how their performance has impacted the success of the team.

Today’s question: Which former Ohio State player has been the best in the NFL so far this year?

We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.

Brett’s answer: Sam Hubbard - DE, Cincinnati Bengals

When you think of Ohio State defensive ends in the NFL, Hubbard isn’t the first one that pops into your mind. Coming into the season, a lot of the attention when it came to former Buckeye defensive ends was focused on Chase Young. Unfortunately, Young is going through a sophomore slump, registering just 1.5 sacks this year.

While Hubbard is behind San Francisco’s Nick Bosa when it comes to sacks this season, what Hubbard is doing feels a little more impressive. Prior to the year, not much was expected from the Cincinnati defense. Even though the Bengals have dropped their last two games, they have played well above expectations this year, and Hubbard is a big reason for the improvement.

Hubbard is now in his fourth NFL season. If he continues to play like he has this year, Hubbard could eclipse his career-high for sacks, which came in 2019 when he notched 8.5 sacks. There might be other former Buckeyes who get more headlines this season, but what Hubbard is doing on the field and the impact that he is having on the Cincinnati defense can’t be denied.

Meredith’s answer: Nick Bosa - DE, San Francisco 49ers

What’s interesting about this question is the selection of defensive players up for consideration — which is a lot. Chief among this group is Nick Bosa who, through eight games, has totaled seven sacks and forced two fumbles.

This year is a comeback year for the younger Bosa brother. After an outstanding rookie season, he was sidelined for most of 2020 with a torn ACL. As we saw, San Francisco took a similar step back last season sans its elite pass rusher.

While San Francisco has been a bit of a disappointment in one of the most competitive divisions in pro football, Bosa and Co. are heading into a showcase MNF matchup against a Rams offensive line that, in its most recent outing, struggled mightily against the Titans.

For the record, I desperately wanted to say Denzel Ward, but he’s had some ups and downs this year. Recency bias has him on the upswing, especially after his incredible 99-yard touchdown after picking off Joe Burrow.