Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano spoke highly of the defensive line that will be the backbone of the Buckeyes defense in 2017.
Schiano has coached both in college and the pros—spending two years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In an interview with the Big Ten Network Saturday, he called Ohio State's defensive line the most talented group he's ever coached:
"We had a great player in Tampa in Gerald McCoy," Schiano said (h/t ESPN.com). "Tremendous player, but that was one guy. I go back to my days in Miami in '99 and 2000 and this is clearly a better group."
According to Football Outsiders, the Buckeyes ranked fourth in adjusted line yards but did sit 78th in adjusted sack rate, illustrating one of few weaknesses for the OSU defense as a whole in 2016.
All four of last year's starters are back along the defensive line, with Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis leading the group. Lewis' eight sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss were most on the team, and Hubbard finished the year with 3.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Lewis and Hubbard as the ninth- and 10th-best edge defenders in the 2018 draft class as well, with Hubbard earning the distinction of "biggest sleeper."
In addition to experienced veterans such as Lewis, Hubbard, Dre'Mont Jones and Michael Hill, the Buckeyes should also see sophomores Nick Bosa and Robert Landers take increased roles in the defense.
Bosa, the brother of former OSU standout and Los Angeles Chargers star Joey Bosa, was the No. 1 strong-side defensive end in the 2016 recruiting class, per Scout, while Landers was the No. 25 defensive tackle.
Schiano is perhaps going slightly overboard to praise his defensive line, since the 2012 Buccaneers not only had McCoy, an All-Pro in 2013, but also Michael Bennett, who reached the Pro Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in each of the last two seasons.
Still, that shouldn't obscure the fact Ohio State has one of the best defensive lines in college football.