Former Ohio State players excel their rookie seasons.
The 2016 Ohio State draft class in 2016 was one of most impressive ever with 5 first round picks and 12 players taken overall. Now, half of the class has been named to the NFL All-Rookie Team.
Some “draft experts” questioned why at least three of the first round picks, Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott and Eli Apple, were chosen as high as they were. Bosa won the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, Elliott was runner-up for Offensive Rookie of the Year and all three players made the All-Rookie Team.
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Here are the six Buckeyes who were honored for their outstanding rookie seasons.
Joey Bosa: Bosa registered 10.5 sacks and 41 tackles in just three-quarters of a season. According to Pro Football Focus, Bosa had 59 quarterback pressures and 15 hits on the quarterback as well.
Ezekiel Elliott: Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also had 32 receptions for 361 yards and another score. Elliott also became only the fifth rookie to lead the league in rushing since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970.
Darron Lee: Lee was expected to be eased into the Jets lineup but was thrown into the fray early in the season. He finished the season with 73 tackles (45 solo}, 1 sack and three passes defended in 13 games.
Taylor Decker: Decker played every down for the Detroit Lions in the 2016 season, per the Detroit Free Press. Thought by many to be suited better to play right tackle in the pros, Decker protected Mathew Stafford’s blind side instead and allowed the QB to have one of his finest seasons in the NFL.
Eli Apple: Many of the “draft experts” thought the New York Giants made a mistake choosing Apple with the 10th pick of the draft. He played 14 games as a rookie registering 49 tackles, had one interception and forced a fumble. He is one of the young players credited with the improvement of the Giants defense.
Michael Thomas: Thomas was simply outstanding for the New Orleans Saints in his rookie season. He had 92 receptions for 1,137 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Not bad for a second round pick. To think, the Browns drafted all of those receivers last year and they had a star wideout right in their own back yard.
With the number of former Ohio State players who were drafted in 2016, it caught the attention of high school recruits across the nation. With the outstanding seasons many of the Buckeye rookies had in 2016, I think it will make an even bigger impression on recruits who are considering playing their college football at Ohio State.
Urban Meyer believes it’s not what you can say but what you can prove. He can prove to a recruit he has the chance to win a national championship at Ohio State, be drafted into the NFL and then perform at a high level once he gets there. Those are pretty good selling points.