Buckeyes, Headlines

Six Buckeyes declare for the NFL Draft

Greg Bartram / USA TODAY Sports
Greg Bartram / USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes may have gotten shut out by the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers in the National Semifinal just a few short weeks ago, but head coach Urban Meyer has continued to develop his players. Although winning national championships is very important, getting players to the NFL is also vitally important.

This year, six Buckeyes have decided to forgo at least one more season in Columbus and enter the NFL Draft: cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley, safety Malik Hooker, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, H-back Curtis Samuel, and wide receiver Noah Brown.

The last one to officially announce that he was headed to the draft, Lattimore decided to declare after bursting onto the scene in 2016, his first season as a full-time starter. In 13 games this season, the redshirt sophomore had 41 tackles, nine pass breakups, and four interceptions (one pick-six). What might have been most impressive though was that the Cleveland, Ohio native allowed just a 30.2 quarterback rating, which was fifth-best among cornerbacks in the country.

The 6-foot, 192-pound cornerback is considered one of the best at his position in the upcoming draft. In his most recent mock draft, ESPN’s Todd McShay has Lattimore being selected No. 5 overall.

“Lattimore could use some more game experience. But if he leaves Columbus early, CB-needy teams could be enticed by the natural talent he has displayed on the perimeter in his first year as a starter.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOz_Pu4gDW8/

A first-year captain and two-year starter, Conley left his mark at Ohio State. The lone returning starter in the Buckeyes’ secondary heading into 2016, the redshirt junior recorded 26 tackles, eight pass breakups, and four interceptions in his second season as a full-time starter.

The Massillon, Ohio native was one of the main reasons why Ohio State had one of the best secondaries in the country after he allowed just a 15.9 quarterback rating at balls thrown his way, the second-best rating in the country.

One of the draft’s top cornerbacks, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has Conley listed as the second-best cornerback prospect.

He and Lattimore will look to become the third (and possibly fourth) Ohio State cornerback to be selected in the first round of the draft in the last four years. After graduating in December, Conley was able to earn his diploma before heading to the NFL.

Last year at this time, not many people, including Buckeye Nation, knew who Malik Hooker was. Now, he is one of the best safeties in the country. In his first year as a starter, the redshirt junior had 74 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and seven interceptions (school record three pick-sixes).

Being compared to former NFL great Ed Reed by many, the ball-hawking safety has an eye for the ball and his range is almost the entire field. For this comparison and the fact that he is one of, if not the best safety in the upcoming draft, Hooker is all but guaranteed to be a top-15 selection come April.

With Hooker, Lattimore, and Conley all entering the draft, six of Ohio State’s eight defensive backs over the last two years have declared for the draft. They may now, and should now, be considered #DBU.1

A unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection the last two seasons, Raekwon McMillan has been a mainstay in the middle of the Silver Bullets ever since he arrived on campus. In 2016, the junior totaled a team-high 102 tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, five passes defended, and two forced fumbles.

The 6-foot-2, 243-pound middle linebacker is considered the fourth-best player at his position by Miller. A team captain in 2016, McMillan was the quarterback of the defense and led by example. His career in Columbus may be over, but he cemented his spot as one of the best linebackers to ever wear the scarlet and gray.

A bit of a surprise, Curtis Samuel decided to forgo his final season and enter the draft. Although it was a surprise, people around the Buckeyes always made sure to mention that it could happen given the playmaker’s athletic ability.

The only player to record more than 700 rushing and 700 receiving yards in the FBS, Samuel totaled 97 carries for 771 yards and eight touchdowns and 74 catches for 865 yards and seven touchdowns. Although many thought that he should have received more opportunities to make plays happen with his feet, No. 4 made the most of his opportunities.

He may never play for the Buckeyes again, but he will forever be remembered for scoring the game-winning touchdown in Ohio State double-overtime victory over Michigan in his final regular season game.

A dual-threat weapon, Samuel will be one of the top receiver off the board in the draft. The 5-foot-11, 197-pound is one of the few hybrid-type players in the draft, which will allow the team who selects him to be able to use him all over the field.

By far the biggest surprise in the group, almost no one expected Noah Brown to declare for the draft. After breaking his leg in 2015, part of his decision to take the chance and leave Ohio State early could have been due to that injury. Many though the previous five players listed would leave for the NFL, but Brown’s decision caught everyone off guard.

After finishing with just 32 catches for 402 yards and seven touchdowns, Brown was expected to have much more receptions in 2016. Outside of his breakout game against Oklahoma, the wide out didn’t fill up the stat sheet throughout the rest of the season.

Although many didn’t see him entering the draft this year, Brown has an NFL-type body, given his size. He is also a very good blocker on the outside, which could make him a red-zone target for whichever team gets him.


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If high schoolers haven’t taken notice already, Ohio State has almost become a minor league spot for the NFL.

The NFL Draft will take place April 27-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  1. Defensive Back University. []

  • tigersbrowns2

    i wouldn’t mind seeing Samuel and/or Hooker wearing our awesome uniforms next season.

  • Garry_Owen

    While the rest of the team wears those ugly new ones? That would be weird.

  • chrisdottcomm

    Rumblings around Columbus and even Cleveland circles are that a few of these “surprise” declares are are on JT.

    Apparently the leadership he’s been touted with so heavily has fallen by the wayside the last two years. Wonder if that’s any correlation to how disjointed the offense has been since Herman’s departure.

    Here’s to hoping Wilson can get the offense back on track.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi GARRY … nothing is considered “weird” in Cleveland anymore … it is the norm now.

  • Natedawg86

    Hooker was a RS Sophomore…scary

  • RGB

    Full-pumpkin is right around the corner.
    I can feel it.

  • Garry_Owen

    Don’t tease me, bro.

  • mgbode

    we are going to wear white socks though

    will it still count?

  • RGB

    Nope.
    I’ve been converted. I’m totally on board with G_O and the desire to see the Browns go full-pumpkin.

  • Garry_Owen

    It would sort of be like going to the Super Bowl without winning the Super Bowl. Because I’ve generally given up on either of these things actually happening, I will accept the white socks, but not whole-heartedly.

  • Garry_Owen

    Mostly because you want to see the gif parade that ensues.

  • RGB
  • RGB

    Speaking of the draft (DRAFT! Heehee!), Mr. Fedor has us passing on Cam Robinson and Jabil Peppers, (among others…) for Teez Tabor.
    He is high.
    I LOVE silly season!

  • Garry_Owen

    If this thing ever goes full pumpkin, I promise no fewer than 8 consecutive celebratory gifs.

  • Garry_Owen

    Protecting the franchise . . . Huge red flag, in my opinion.

  • chrisdottcomm

    Right right, because why wouldn’t a kid on the verge of actually being paid for his talent and likeness risk it all on the Orange Bowl?

  • Garry_Owen

    Then he should have just said that. If he was truly injured, I have no problem with it all. In fact, I have no problem with any of these guys declaring for the draft before their bowl game. Cool. Go make some money. But if he set aside his team because he was going to enter the draft, he should have been honest. If (complete conjecture) his injury was a convenient excuse for him to protect the franchise while protecting his image, then it’s a red flag, IN MY OPINION.

  • Garry_Owen

    Then he should have just said that. If he was truly injured, I have no problem with it all. In fact, I have no problem with any of these guys declaring for the draft before their bowl game. Cool. Go make some money. But if he set aside his team because he was going to enter the draft, he should have been honest. If (complete conjecture) his injury was a convenient excuse for him to protect the franchise while protecting his image, then it’s a red flag, IN MY OPINION.

  • chrisdottcomm

    “Peppers injured his hamstring in practice yesterday and was ruled physically unable to play, according to Sports Illustrated’s
    Pete Thamel. He was not pulling out of the bowl game to focus on the
    NFL Draft like Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and LSU’s Leonard
    Fournette have done for their respective teams”

    The kid got injured in practice and was ruled unable to play by the team. So he and the team did just say that he was injured.

    If he wasn’t injured and was truly “protecting the franchise” I’d imagine he’d also just have said that as well since it did become so en vogue this year, but that is also just my projection.

  • Garry_Owen

    Cool. So you just need me to declare that I made it up . . .

    Ahem . . .

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/si-fl-wp/wp-content/uploads/20161221233242/mic-check.gif

    I made it up.

    (Still, I have suspicions and doubts about him, based on other things observed.)

  • Saggy

    The only doubts I have about him are will he make the Pro Bowl in his first season, or will he have to wait til his sophomore campaign?

  • Garry_Owen

    And the Pro Bowl is the perfect game to play if you want to avoid getting hurt!

    (I know I’m being unnecessarily harsh. I apologize. Sometimes you just get on a roll and can’t stop. Let’s just say I am stunned by his physical ability, but have doubts about what drives it.)

  • Harv

    Soon as we receive confirm that SashiDesta body doubles are activated the bloodless coup is on: originals disappear, cell phones are forwarded, Dee has already had fake news with convincing links plopped on her FB page advising that the Chinese wall insulation used in Berea is linked to mild cognitive difficulties and behavior changes (we leave Jimmy be – he won’t have a clue).

    Then: Garrett at #1, Hooker at #12 (ugh, Peppers if you insist), then … switch back. Real SashiDesta a little stunned and headachey, blinking under light at the media table after Day 1, fumbling to explain why they waited until Round 2 for offense. (Hue pacing and spitting, beside himself, voice in the mezzo soprano range).

    Then we’ve won. A team with a ferocious defensive identity is born, just 19 years past the due date. And a QB is drafted in the second round in a slot appropriate to his talent. And the acrid whiff of incompetent desperation starts to lift, a burgeoning self-confidence, making it easier in 2018 to let the players fall to them.

    Ready, boys?

  • tigersbrowns2

    better late than never , i always say …

  • RGB
  • Garry_Owen

    But if they real SashiDesta wake up before the second round, won’t they just trade all of their 2nd and 3rd round picks to get us back into the 2018 first round with an extra pick? Maybe better to have those meds last for 2 full days?

  • Garry_Owen

    The Cowboys last year, the Raiders a few years ago: Just once, I want to have a draft like that where I (we all) say, “yep, that’s how you do it.” This year is such a no-brainer for it to happen.

    (Don’t worry folks, my desk is solid wood, and I just knocked on it. We should be good. )

  • mgbode

    QB at Pick No. 22

    It is our destiny

  • RGB

    Spike their meds, and convince them to trade themselves.

  • mgbode

    I am happy for it demonstrated just how important he is for that defense.

  • tigersbrowns2

    yep , this is THE draft they have to make a splash … i think they can also do this before the draft in free-agency … there are a lot of nice defensive free-agents this year … i am praying they re-sign Collins & nab one of the top defensive free-agents.

    c’mon , man … time to start spending & drafting wisely !!

  • RGB

    Cocobolo?

  • mgbode

    I thought that is going to the NFL Draft?

  • Garry_Owen
  • Garry_Owen
  • Garry_Owen

    Problem: Trades require a willing partner.

  • RGB
  • RGB

    Dream crusher.

  • tigersbrowns2

    … right on cue.

  • Garry_Owen

    We have now lost that “super bowl” 16 years straight. I’ve moved on to other metaphors.

  • mgbode

    we have never lost that Super Bowl – you cannot look at a Super Bowl 3 years later and assign a new winner. This isn’t the NCAA!

  • Harv

    chemistry gets a tad tricky here, wanted to keep the plan simple but … ok, second round we get to his dish of Cherry Garcia and Desta thinks he’s the GM of … the Raiders (6 grams mild hallucinogen with “bam” of geographic flashybacky). Sashi – not sure how that toothpick will metabolize the first dose and he’s such a compromiser he’ll go with the Desta flow. Everything will be fine if we set up the dummy league phone lines.

    Re the chemistry specifics, maybe disregard the formula above. I barely got through the high school stuff so unless we want to end up with 7.5 punters I need competent back up.

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