Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was all smiles on Friday on the NFL Network’s set for the 2016 NFL draft. Meyer could be seen celebrating every time one of his former players had his name called this weekend.
The 2016 OSU draft class is one for the books.
Mostly led by underclassmen from Meyer’s first recruiting class, OSU was a metaphorical pipeline for the NFL, producing 12 overall selections through the weekend.
Although Joey Bosa was considered by many to be a potential first overall pick as the 2015 season concluded, his draft stock slowly dropped after producing what many deemed to be subpar numbers for a player of his expected caliber at the NFL combine.
Even with the criticism, the San Diego Chargers made Bosa the first Buckeye taken in the draft with the third overall pick. His presence of the edge should be immediately felt next season.
Ezekiel Elliott was the next OSU product to be selected. The Dallas Cowboys took the former high school track star at No. 4 to bolster a running game that suffered last year after the departure of Demarco Murray. The remainder of the first round saw Eli Apple taken at No. 10 by the Giants, Taylor Decker selected by the Lions at No. 16 and Darron Lee picked up by the Jets with the 20th pick.
Five picks in the first round ties the mark set by the 2006 draft class for most players drafted in the first round for OSU. This marks the second time OSU fell just shy of the record of selections in the first round, which is six, set by the University of Miami (Fla.) in 2004. All five of the picks were within the top 20.
Two more Buckeyes saw their NFL dreams come true in the second round, as the New Orleans Saints selected both wide receiver Michael Thomas at No. 47 and safety Vonn Bell at No. 61.
Thomas was a favorite of the Saints coaching staff and provides a solid target for veteran quarterback Drew Brees.
Bell was also sought after by Saints coach Sean Payton but was not expected to fall into the second round. Multiple mock drafts saw Bell being a late first-round selection.
Both Thomas and Bell join former Buckeye linebacker James Laurinaitis, who was signed as a free agent this offseason by New Orleans.
Three more former OSU starters found new homes in the third round, highlighted by Braxton Miller to the Houston Texans. The Texans had previously selected former Notre Dame standout receiver Will Fuller. Both athletes are known for breakaway speed and stellar athleticism.
Adolphus Washington became a member of the Buffalo Bills, and Nick Vannett will be playing at CenturyLink Field next season with the Seattle Seahawks.
The final two selections for the Scarlet and Gray went on opposite ends of the fourth round, as linebacker Joshua Perry became the fourth pick of the the fourth round, and quarterback Cardale Jones was the last player drafted in the fourth.
Perry joins his Bosa in San Diego. It came as a surprise to no one, as Bosa appeared on camera in California to announce the 102nd pick. The crowd roared as the two members of Meyer’s “Silver Bullets” were reunited.
Jones was the final Buckeye selected in the 2016 NFL draft but found a good fit with the Buffalo Bills. Bills coach Rex Ryan likes athletic quarterbacks who can push the ball downfield, and Jones fits the bill.
Two notable former OSU players, H-back Jalin Marshall and safety Tyvis Powell, did not hear their names called over the course of the three-day festivities.
However, Marshall was picked up after the draft by the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent, along with former offensive lineman Chase Farris, who signed with the Detroit Lions. Powell, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Bill Rabinowitz, will sign as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks.
The 12 players mark a new record for the NFL draft for most players from one program selected through four rounds.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to update where Tyvis Powell signed as an undrafted free agent.