Ohio State Buckeyes All-Time NFL Offensive Unit
The Ohio State Buckeyes have had arguably the best class of players from any school when it comes to success in the National Football League. There are so many at every position that I'm sure to leave a few guys out, but I'm simply trying to find the very best of the class.
Some of the guys went on to have a long career in the NFL, while others only played a short time but had a huge impact on their teams.
Quarterback is the only position where the Buckeyes are weak. Perhaps Terrelle Pryor or Braxton Miller will change this in a few years!
Read on to find which offensive players from OSU lived up to expectations at the next level.
Quarterback: Mike Tomczak
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Mike Tomczak wasn't a very good NFL quarterback, I know this.
He had the most success of any quarterback from Ohio State though, as I mentioned that was the one position of weakness for the all-time OSU offensive unit.
His career numbers aren't much to smile about, but he did play a long time. Tomczak has 73 starts and completed 55.3 percent of his passes for 88 touchdowns and 106 interceptions.
He played for five teams from 1985 to 2000; The Chicago Bears from 1985 to 1990, the Green Bay Packers in 1991, the Cleveland Browns in 1992, the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1993 to 1999 and the Detroit Lions in 2000.
Interestingly enough, he won his first 10 starts as a pro, all with Chicago, which set an NFL record (breaking the mark set by former Pittsburgh Steeler Mike Kruczek). Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger eventually broke that record.
In his final regular season game, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost against the Tennessee Oilers 47-36, the highest scoring game in the history of Three Rivers Stadium. Tomczak passed for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Running Back: Eddie George
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Eddie George was a lot of fun to watch, and had a very successful career in the National Football League. He played most of his career with the Houston Oilers, now the Titans. He played there from 1996 to 2003, before playing one season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2004.
In 1996, Eddie was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He finished the season with 335 carries for 1,368 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 4.1 yards a carry.
He rushed for over 1,000 yards in all but two seasons over the course of his career.
He played in 142 games, totaling 10,441 yards on 2,865 carries, scoring 68 touchdowns. He averaged 3.6 yards a carry over his career, very impressive considering how many carries he had and the beating he took.
He also had 268 receptions, 2,227 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
I strongly believe that the high number of carries he had each season shortened his career at least a few years.
Fullback: John Brockington
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John Brockington was a great player who took a beating due to his style of play.
I'm too young to have watched him live, but from what I've seen he never ran around anybody! He wanted to run through and over defenders, no matter how many there were.
Brockington was the Green Bay Packers' first-round pick in 1971, the ninth player off of the board.
Brockington was the first NFL player to ever rush for 1,000 or more yards in each of his first three seasons. In 1971 he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was also selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls from 1971 to 1973.
In his short career, he ran for 5,185 yards and scored 30 touchdowns.
He is a member of the Green Bay Packers' Hall of Fame.
Wide Receiver: Cris Carter
Not only is Cris Carter the best wide receiver in Ohio State history, he is one of the best in NFL history.
Carter was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 1987 NFL supplemental draft. While he didn't play long for the Eagles, he made a name for himself with the Minnesota Vikings from 1990 to 2001.
Carter left the Vikings as their all-time leader in receptions with 1,004, receiving yards with 12,383 and touchdowns with 110.
He accomplished many "firsts" over the course of his career; Only player to record 120+ receptions in a season twice, 1994 and 1995, most touchdown receptions in Thursday games with nine, most 12+ reception games in a single season with four in 1995, one of three players (Clarke Gaines and Jerry Rice) to record 12+ receptions in back-to-back games, most consecutive games with at least three receptions with 58, first player to record 150 yards receiving in a game in three different decades, among others.
He was also an eight-time Pro Bowl selection from 1993 to 2000.
He finished his illustrious career with 1,101 receptions totaling 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns.
He hasn't been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame yet, but he will be eventually!
Tight End: Keith Byars
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Keith Byars is a unique case, playing two positions in the NFL. Even more impressive is that neither position is the one he played in college at Ohio State!
He was a great running back at Ohio State, finishing his college career with 4,369 total yards, 3,200 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns. His 50 touchdowns remain the second most in school history to this day.
He played both tight end and fullback in the NFL from 1986 to 1998 for four different teams: the Philadelphia Eagles, the Miami Dolphins, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
In his 13-season career, Byars did a little bit of everything. He ran for 3,109 yards, caught 610 passes for 5,661 yards, returned five kickoffs for 94 yards and completed 6-of-13 passes for 119 yards and six touchdowns. He scored 54 total touchdowns, 23 rushing and 31 receiving.
Offensive Tackle: Orlando Pace
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Orlando pace is a beast of a man and has been a vital part of each team he has played for.
He played for the Saint Louis Rams from 1997 to 2008 and the Chicago Bears in 2009. Still not officially retired, I would bet Pace would still be an upgrade on several NFL rosters despite being 35 years old.
He blocked for three straight NFL MVPs in quarterback Kurt Warner, 1999 and 2001, and running back Marshall Faulk in 2000.
While offensive linemen never get their true respect due to lack of recorded stats, Mr. Pace is one of the best tackles to ever play the game.
He is a definite NFL Hall of Famer when he is eligible.
Offensive Guard: Jim Parker
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Jim Parker played great no matter where he played on the offensive line. He played his entire career with the Baltimore Colts from 1957 to 1967.
He was widely known as one of the best offensive linemen in the league for much of his career, blocking for great quarterback Johnny Unitas. From what I've read, he is thought to be one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973 and was an eight-time Pro Bowler.
Center: Tim DeLeone
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Born in Ravenna Ohio, Tim DeLeone is a true Buckeye for life. Tim played his entire collegiate and professional career in Ohio.
He played from 1972 to 1973 with the Cincinnati Bengals and 1974 to 1984 with the Cleveland Browns. He played a total of 176 games in the National Football League, making the Pro Bowl twice.
He was a stable force on the Browns' offensive line.
Nick Mangold of the New York Jets has a shot to overtake DeLeone if he continues to play at a high level.