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Column: Buckeyes who had the best NFL seasons this year

A lot of former Ohio State players had great seasons this year, but there were a few that stood out from the rest.

Houston Texans v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

It’s hard to believe that the NFL’s regular season has officially come to a close. While we all have our favorite teams, perhaps from Ohio or not (unfortunately for me, I am a Jets fan), one thing that Ohio State fans all have in common is a rooting interest in former Buckeyes that are playing in the NFL.

There are a whopping 50 former Ohio State players currently on the rosters of NFL teams. While a good portion of them have been solid players this season, there are a few in particular that have had outstanding seasons, including some Pro-Bowlers.

Nick Bosa

Houston Texans v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The start of the younger Bosa brother’s career has been a whirlwind. He made his NFL debut in 2019, being named Defensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection while racking up nine sacks. The 49ers organization, and frankly all football fans, were excited to see how he performed in his sophomore season.

Unfortunately, Bosa tore his ACL during the second game of the season that kept him out the remainder of the year. However, he bounced back looking like his usual self this season. He made a case for himself for both Comeback Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Bosa’s stats are impressive: 15 sacks and four forced fumbles, both ranking in the top five in the league.

The reason why he’s playing so well in the pros is the same reason why he had so much success as a Buckeye. His pass-rushing abilities are unmatched, totaling 19 tackles for loss — the best in the league. He’s also in the top three in the league in quarterback pressures. There is no doubt that Nick Bosa is one of the best edge-rushers in the NFL.

Terry McLaurin

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Football Team Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

McLaurin was drafted the same season as Bosa, and has had equally the amount of success. His rookie season, he finished with 58 receptions for 919 yards and seven touchdowns — pretty impressive from a first-year! He followed up with an even more impressive season, getting more targets (87 total receptions) and racking up 1,118 yards and four scores.

While his numbers are ever so slightly down from last season, he is not entirely to blame. There has been something of a quarterback carousel in Washington, with four different QBs getting playing time. None of them have been particularly outstanding, and McLaurin wasn’t getting enough targets.

However, his play picked up towards the end of the season, and he officially finished the season with 1,053 yards and five TDs. This is his second consecutive 1,000-yard season, becoming only the fifth Washington receiver to post this stat. His strength in particular is on contested targets, ranking among the top receivers in the league. It should be interesting how McLaurin excels once he gets a consistent quarterback throwing to him.

Joe Burrow

Kansas City Chiefs v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I think all of Buckeye nation can agree that Joey B counts as a member of the Scarlet and Gray. Burrow has had an amazing comeback season following an extreme knee injury last year, making himself a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.

The 25-year-old leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.4), he’s fifth in passing yards (4,611), sixth in touchdowns (34) and second in passer rating (108.3). He has had an unbelievable end to the season, passing for 446 and 525 yards, respectively, in the last two games. Burrow also led the Bengals to their first playoff berth since 2015.

In addition to his undeniable talent, Joey B is such a likable guy that you can’t help but root for. His press conferences are entertaining, he stays humble and gives back to his community. His future is certainly bright if he can stay healthy!

Poll

Do you think Joe Burrow is the best player out of his draft class?

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  • 86%
    Yes!
    (145 votes)
  • 11%
    Justin Herbert
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Tua Tagovailoa
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  • 0%
    Jalen Hurts
    (1 vote)
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    Jordan Love
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