Ohio State Football: 2014 NFL Draft Should End Tough Stretch for Buckeyes

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Ohio State Football: 2014 NFL Draft Should End Tough Stretch for Buckeyes

Ohio State has a rich history of sending its players to the NFL, and only one school (USC) has produced more first-round selections than the Buckeyes.

Over the last several years, though, Ohio State has failed to produce that top-level talent.

The last time the Buckeyes had an exceptional draft class was in 2009, when four players—Malcolm Jenkins, Chris "Beanie" Wells, James Laurinaitis and Brian Robiskie—were selected in the first 36 picks. Jenkins (No. 14) and Wells (No. 31) were picked in the first round by New Orleans and Arizona, while Laurinaitis (No. 35) and Robiskie (No. 36) were taken near the top of the second round by St. Louis and Cleveland.

Jason DeCrow/Associated Press
Malcolm Jenkins, the No. 14 pick in 2009, is the highest-drafted Buckeye over the last five years.

Since the 2009 draft, only one former Buckeye has been drafted in the first 36 picks. In 2011, Pittsburgh selected Cameron Heyward at No. 31. The next highest pick over the last four years came in last year's draft when the New York Giants selected Johnathan Hankins at No. 49.

That drought should end very soon.

A trio of Buckeyes stand a great chance of going high in next week's draft. Ryan Shazier is rated one of the top outside linebackers in this year's class. Bradley Roby has true lockdown ability at cornerback—a coveted skill in the pass-happy NFL—which makes him a valuable commodity. Carlos Hyde is considered by most as the best running back available, comparing favorably to Eddie Lacy, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year.

In a pair of mock drafts from Bleacher Report's Eric Galko and Bucky Brooks of NFL.com, both Shazier and Roby were slated as first-round picks. In WalterFootball.com's latest projection, all three are projected as first-round selections.

That is, of course, if Roby's latest run in with the law doesn't cost him.

Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Bradley Roby is still hoping to be taken in the first round despite his recent legal troubles.

It was reported last week that Roby was cited for operating a vehicle while impaired in downtown Columbus. He pled guilty to a reduced charge and now has to serve 30 days of probation, three days in a driver intervention program and pay a $375 fine, according to Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports.

In the end, this incident could cost him much more if he slips down the draft board.

Still, Ohio State should be represented very well in New York next week. 

Despite not producing many high picks, Buckeyes have been drafted with a high consistency over the last five years.

According to Sean Merriman of the Big Ten Network, Ohio State and Iowa are tied for producing the most draft picks since 2009. 

Ohio State Buckeyes in the Draft
Year Total Draft Picks
2013 3
2012 4
2011 5
2010 4
2009 7


Of those 23 Buckeyes selected, though, 15 were picked in Rounds 4 through 7. Compare that to Alabama's 33 overall draft picks during the same time, 20 of which came in the first two rounds, and it's clear that Ohio State has some ground to cover.

That starts next week when Shazier, Roby and Hyde hope to hear their names called on the first night of the draft.

All draft information via NFL.com.

David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report. 
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.

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