Cody Cousino / Photo editor
Ohio State football has a rich history of sending its star players to the NFL. There have been 399 OSU players drafted in NFL history, the third most from any university .
The Buckeyes have seven prospects with a chance of being selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, which will be held Thursday to Saturday.
Offensive tackle Mike Adams should be the first OSU player drafted this year. At 6-foot-7 and 323 pounds, Adams has the prototypical size for an NFL left tackle, and he has great feet for his size. He is a skilled pass protector, which is the most important ability for a left tackle to have. As one of the top offensive tackles in this draft, he has a chance to be selected in the first round. However, he will likely fall into the early second round due to on-field and off-field concerns.
Adams’s strength as a run blocker is a concern which was heightened when he only managed 19 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine. Character, however, is his biggest issue. NFL.com reported last week that Adams tested positive for marijuana at the Scouting Combine. In addition, Adams, along with former OSU wide receiver DeVier Posey, former running back Daniel “Boom” Herron, former defensive end Solomon Thomas and former quarterback Terrelle Pryor, received a five-game suspension in 2011 for selling OSU football memorabilia in exchange for improper benefits in the form of tattoos. Former linebacker Jordan Whiting also received a one-game ban.
The second-best OSU prospect this year is former center Mike Brewster. The four-year starter was a consistent presence in the middle of OSU’s offensive line, starting 49 consecutive games for the Buckeyes. Brewster is a good run blocker, but he struggles as an interior pass protector. He also struggled with snapping the football at this year’s Senior Bowl.
Brewster’s strength and consistency will get him drafted. He is worth a fifth-round draft choice.
Posey had the talent to be an early draft choice, but things fell apart for him in his senior season. Posey was suspended for a total of 10 games last season, resulting in a three-game senior season for the former Buckeye. In addition to the wide receiver’s five-game suspension for his role in the “Tattoogate” scandal, Posey was suspended an additional five games for being paid for work he didn’t perform.
Posey’s character concerns will not be overlooked, and his lack of game play in his senior season really hurts him. That said, he is a big, athletic wide receiver who is a natural downfield playmaker. He can make big plays and is an effective route runner, but he drops passes too often. If Posey is developed properly by the team who drafts him, as a football player and person, he could emerge as a starting NFL wide receiver. However, he should end up dropping into the fifth or sixth round.
Herron also sat the first five games of 2011 for his role in the team’s scandal. When Herron returned to the field, he was a productive runner, as he was for all four years of his OSU career. Herron is a shifty, quick runner with the size and strength to run between the tackles. That said, he does not stand out in any one area. He could make it in the NFL as a third-string running back, but should not be selected above the sixth round.
Of the other Buckeyes, outside linebacker Andrew Sweat has the best chance of being drafted. Sweat stepped up to become the leader of the Buckeyes defense during his senior season. He is a good tackler, solid run stopper and drops back into coverage effectively. However, he does not have great size or lateral athleticism, and he is not known for making big plays in the backfield, having only made nine tackles for loss in his OSU career. He could be selected in the seventh round, but will most likely go undrafted and be signed as a free agent.
Two other draft-eligible players, right tackle J.B. Shugarts and safety Tyler Moeller, played significant roles for OSU last season, but neither is likely to be drafted. Shugarts has good size for a right tackle, but his play was much too inconsistent last season. Moeller, a role player last season who played in a safety/linebacker hybrid position, is too small to be an NFL linebacker and not athletic enough to be an NFL safety.
The first round of the 2012 NFL Draft begins on Thursday at 8 p.m. The second and third rounds will be held on Friday starting at 7 p.m., and the draft concludes Saturday with rounds four through seven beginning at noon.