Throughout the month of August, LGHL writers will be attempting to answer some of the most important questions about Ohio State’s 2021 football season. To catch up on all editions of LGHL Asks, click HERE.
As August moves on, you can definitely feel football is in the air. Not only is Ohio State practicing ahead of their September 2nd season opener against Minnesota, the NFL saw a full slate of preseason football over the weekend. Between current and former Buckeyes, there will be plenty to root for on the gridiron this fall.
Today we’ll focus on former Buckeyes who have made their way to the NFL. Currently there are 75 Buckeyes on the rosters of 27 NFL teams. The Cincinnati Bengals lead the way with seven former Ohio State players on their roster, while the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints each have five former Buckeyes. The only teams currently without a former Ohio State player on their roster are the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Philadelphia Eagles.
With so many former Buckeyes currently in the NFL, we are wondering what grouping of former Ohio State players would you take if you had the choice? Would it be because of a favorite player? Or a talented group that sways your decision?
Today’s question: What NFL team currently has your favorite set of former Ohio State players?
We used this list of former Ohio State players currently in the NFL as a guide.
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s Pick: Washington Football Team (Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Chase Young)
There may be teams with more Buckeyes on their roster than Washington, but it’s going to be hard to find a group that is going to impact the game more than the trio the Football Team sports. If only Dwayne Haskins had been able to pan out in Washington, this group would have had even more star power.
I’m a Buffalo Bills fan, and of course my favorite team couldn’t be bothered to roster a former Buckeye. Since I have to go elsewhere, this would be my favorite team that has a scarlet and gray slant. Even though Chase Young is only entering his second season in the NFL, he has already showed he can be a dominant force at the professional level. Not only did Young win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and earn Pro Bowl honors in his first season as a professional, he was a big reason why Washington was able to earn a spot in the playoffs last season.
Another young former Buckeye who has already made a massive impact with Washington is Terry McLaurin. The wide receiver started his NFL career in 2019 by becoming the first player to catch five passes and a touchdown in each of his first three games. McLaurin followed up a fabulous freshman season by catching 87 passes for 1,118 yards, and four touchdowns last year. Adding Curtis Samuel to the mix at receiver should open things up even more for McLaurin.
Who knows what this year will hold for Washington, as they haven’t really addressed their issues at quarterback, aside from bringing in Ryan Fitzpatrick. No matter what the record of the Football Team ends up being, expect to have this trio of Buckeyes to have their fingerprints all over whatever Washington ends up doing. The NFC East is wide open so we could see Young, McLaurin, and Samuel power Ron Rivera’s team to the playoffs for a second straight season.
Meredith’s pick: New Orleans Saints (Malcolm Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore, Michael Thomas, Nick Vannett, Pete Werner)
I actually 1000% agree on the Washington Football Team. Young, McLaurin and Samuel are all young and, barring injury, should all be starters at their respective positions come week one. Already, Young is arguably the best defensive end in the league (the other candidates happen to have the last name “Bosa”), and McLaurin has proven critical to Washington’s offense in the past two seasons. Samuel, meanwhile, is coming off the best season of his career, and brings much needed help to McLaurin and Washington’s receiving corps.
However, for the sake of further discussion, I’ll bring the New Orleans Saints into the mix. Like the Cincinnati Bengals, the Saints are playing the volume game when it comes to former Ohio State players. Unlike the Bengals, the Saints are not wildly dysfunctional, and the players on the roster have had opportunities to excel at their position groups.
The roster includes:
S Malcolm Jenkins
CB Marshon Lattimore
WR Michael Thomas
TE Nick Vannett
LB Pete Werner
The Saints seem to have an affinity for former Buckeyes. Remember in 2019 when New Orleans started three defensive backs from Ohio State, also while Ted Ginn Jr. was lining up next to Thomas? Let’s not forget also that it was New Orleans who first drafted Jenkins back in 2009.
While the jury is out on Werner and, to a degree, Vannett, the remaining trio of Jenkins, Lattimore and Thomas is a formidable bunch. The latter two players are tops in their position groups, while the former has put together one of the best NFL careers among current safeties.
Lattimore is a three-time Pro-Bowler in his four-season career with the Saints, and was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017. He’s recorded 10 picks in four seasons (including five in his rookie year, elevating his status as a shutdown corner).
Thomas, similarly, broke out immediately with Drew Brees passing to him. Also a three-time Pro-Bowler, Thomas earned NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2019, and led the NFL in receptions in both 2018 and 2019.
In addition to being an incredible social activist who did tons of amazon work during his time in Philadelphia, Jenkins is a two-time Super Bowl champion, three-time Pro-Bowler and among the oldest safeties in the NFL. He hasn’t slowed down with age, pulling in three picks in 2020.
Vannett, who was taken in the 2016 draft along with Thomas, has had a more circuitous career. Moving from the Seahawks to the Steelers to the Broncos, Vannett signed a three-year contract with the Saints in March. He had 14 catches and a touchdown in 2020.
Werner, the youngest of the bunch, was taken by the Saints in the second round of this year’s draft. The rookie linebacker didn’t play in the Saints’ preseason opener against the Ravens, held out with undisclosed minor injuries according to head coach Sean Payton.
The Ohio State contingent of the Saints’ roster brings a healthy mix of established, veteran ability and high potential that any team would be fortunate to find on its roster.