Ohio State Football 2014 NFL Draft Tracker, Analysis and Results
Ohio State will once again be well-represented in the 2014 NFL draft.
From tailback Carlos Hyde, expected to be the first tailback picked, to linebacker Ryan Shazier and more, the Buckeyes could have as many as nine players picked in the three-day draft, which begins Thursday night and runs through Saturday at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Here is a look at the former Buckeyes who expect to hear their names called in the seven-round draft, with analysis, stats and projections.
FS Christian Bryant
Drafted: Seventh round, No. 241 overall to St. Louis Rams.
Weight: 198 lbs
Bryant didn't work out this spring after recovering from a broken ankle. He is an active player in run support and a solid athlete who plays the ball well and knows the game. However, he lacks major speed and is not a durable player after missing time in three of his collegiate seasons with injuries. He could also improve his tackling skills.
The Rams have need at safety. Third-year player Rodney McLeod had 79 tackles last season, and he’s backed up by former Texas Tech player Cody Davis. Depth is also weak behind starting strong safety T.J. McDonald.
Ohio State’s secondary was a weakness last season, but replacing the likes of Bryant and Bradley Roby won’t be easy. Tyvis Powell should have the edge at one safety spot, while junior Ron Tanner figures in at the other spot.
TB Carlos Hyde
Drafted: Third round, No.57 overall to San Francisco 49ers.
Weight: 230 lbs
Hyde is a powerful, tough back who has ideal size for an NFL tailback. He is a punishing runner who is excellent in short yardage and is a load for opposing defenders to tackle. He has solid pass-catching skills and also works well in pass protection.
Veteran Frank Gore returns as the top tailback in San Francisco, but he has only one year left on his contract. LaMichael James’ future with the 49ers is uncertain, but Kendall Hunter returns as the backup tailback. Former South Carolina star Marcus Lattimore had what was essentially a redshirt year in 2013 while recovering from a serious knee injury suffered in fall 2012 at USC. It is unclear how soon he’ll be able to return to form, so Hyde could find a role behind Gore as a physical back with Anthony Dixon gone.
Hyde was a bruising presence in the Buckeyes’ backfield, one which will be hard to replace. Sophomore Ezekiel Elliott has the best chance of doing so. Last fall, the 225-pound Elliott averaged 8.1 yards per carry with excellent speed and a physical presence.
Senior Rod Smith and sophomore Bri’onte Dunn will also challenge for playing time. Smith stands 6’3”, 238 pounds, while Dunn, who redshirted last fall, is 6’0”, 222. Elliott, who had 262 yards and two touchdowns, was impressive in spring and figures to have the first shot at lead-dog carries, but it’s possible that OSU could use a backfield by committee to replace the durable, hard-running Hyde.
OT Jack Mewhort
Drafted: Second round, No. 59 overall to Indianapolis Colts.
Weight: 309 lbs
Mewhort is a talented blocker who started the last two seasons at left tackle. He has solid feet and a good base, and is a versatile player who can seal-block. He was an intense, vocal player and team leader for Ohio State. He could immediately fit in as a starting tackle, although it would likely be on the right side. He lacks some explosiveness and quickness.
Gosder Cherilus and Anthony Castonzo were solid at tackle for a Colts offensive line that struggled last fall, but Mewhort adds solid depth and should see some time this fall, though not likely as a starter.
Mewhort was a rock for the Buckeyes at left tackle, a first-team All-Big 10 player and a tremendous leader who Urban Meyer trusted implicitly. Taylor Decker is expected to slide over to left tackle from right tackle to replace him, although it’ll be tough to replace Mewhort’s toughness, intangibles and leadership skills overall.
C Corey Linsley
Drafted: Fifth round, No. 161 overall by Green Bay Packers.
Weight: 296 lbs
Linsley is an excellent run-blocker who bench-presses 500 pounds and served as a leader and team captain for Ohio State. He keyed the Buckeyes’ highly productive running game. As a tough, hard-working player, he could fit in as a center or guard in the NFL thanks to his football IQ. He is somewhat slow of foot and doesn’t have ideal quickness, though, and could be a bit light for an NFL lineman.
Linsley went a little earlier than projected, but Green Bay has a need at center. The Packers have a starter in place in 2013 draft pick JC Tretter, but were looking for a backup to develop behind him this fall. Linsley fills the bill. The only other center possibilities on the roster are third-year player Don Barclay who is mostly a guard and tackle and practice-squad member Garth Gerhart.
Jacoby Boren is the favorite to win the Buckeyes’ starting center job, but redshirt freshman Billy Price will challenge him. Boren backed up Linsley last fall and would be the third Boren brother to start for Ohio State, so pedigree is on his side.
CB Bradley Roby
Drafted: First round, No. 31 overall by Denver Broncos.
Weight: 194 lbs
Analysis: Excellent speed and athletic ability with good hips and feet and has solid balance. He can cover receivers downfield and is a physical, aggressive player who is a physical tackler and can work on special teams and as a corner blitzer. Could stand to get stronger and sometimes gets out-muscled by taller receivers.
The Broncos have a serious need at cornerback. They signed standout Aqib Talib, but released longtime standout Champ Bailey, who signed with the New Orleans Saints. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also departed. In addition, starter Chris Harris is coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL. If Harris can recover, he’ll start alongside Talib, but Roby, an aggressive, athletic player, will fit in as the No. 3 corner or nickel.
Replacement: Junior Armani Reeves started three games last season, including the Orange Bowl against Clemson, when Roby missed time with injury and a suspension. A year ago, the 5’10”, 197-pound Reeves had 10 tackles and four pass breakups. He’ll be pushed by sophomore Cam Burrows and freshman Damon Webb but figures to be the starter this fall. It’ll be a downgrade from the erratic but talented Roby.
LB Ryan Shazier
Drafted: No. 15 overall by Pittsburgh Steelers.
Weight: 237 lbs.
A very productive, active player who excelled against the run and the pass, Shazier spends a lot of time in opponents’ offensive backfields. He is a quick, strong player who moves very well and is an excellent tackler with great speed and range as well as change of direction. He has great athleticism and flexibility and can play on all four downs. He could be less aggressive, more instinctive and improve his eyes and awareness.
Shazier gives the Steelers a major boost in an area where they badly need it. The Steelers had the sixth-worst overall sack total in the NFL last season, and Shazier can learn behind Jason Worilds or Jarvis Jones while providing pass-rushing punch.
With the departure of the athletic Shazier and the transfer of former highly touted recruit Mike Mitchell, sophomore Trey Johnson is the odds-on favorite to replace Shazier. He didn’t play a lot behind Shazier as a freshman, making 11 tackles.
But he recorded 304 tackles over his final two seasons of high school and was heavily recruited by the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and USC. He could have some early struggles but is clearly talented with a nose for the ball.
SS C.J. Barnett
Matt Miller Draft Projection: Undrafted.
Weight: 204 lbs
Stat line: 84 tackles, four INT, nine passes broken up.
Barnett is an excellent tackler who was a leader for Ohio State’s secondary and defense. He is a very smart player who also excels at special teams, but has just average quickness and can struggle with deep routes. He is likely a seventh-round pick or priority free agent.
WR Corey Brown
Matt Miller Draft Projection: Undrafted.
Weight: 178 lbs
Stat line: 63 receptions, 771 yards, 10 touchdowns. 4.51-second 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical leap.
Brown is a good short-route pass catcher who can make yards after the catch and can line up in a variety of positions and also work in special teams on punt return. He is not the strongest player and lacks ideal NFL size and speed, and can also improve his route running. He will likely be an undrafted free agent.
OG Andrew Norwell
Matt Miller Draft Projection: Undrafted.
Weight: 315 lbs
Stat line: A three-year starter for Ohio State’s talented offensive line.
A tough-minded player who is a true warrior in the trenches, Norwell is an old-school type of player who excels at run blocking and has played both guard and tackle during his three seasons starting at Ohio State. However, he lacks speed and can get stronger. He will likely be a late-round draft pick or undrafted free-agent.