With Ohio State off this weekend, Ohio had a chance to focus on its pro football teams, and the Browns and Bengals certainly delivered plenty of storylines to get us through. Some thoughts on the men in stripes…
OK, so it wasn’t all bad. And it isn’t all bad. But it sure felt bad. And a day later it really hasn’t started feeling better.
The Bengals did some good things Sunday against the Panthers. They also did some bad things. The latter could have been erased with one kick by Mike Nugent, but the home-state hero didn’t come through.
The result was a 37-all final score that left the Bengals in first place in the AFC North but lots of questions about the rest of the season.
The way the Browns whipped the fading Steelers made the result all the more meaningful, leaving the division lead feeling more precarious, but the tie was not really the top story in Cincinnati.
Joey Burrow is on track to buck one trend but Ohio State fans will be happier to see him turn another of its head in the future.
Burrow, a four-star prospect from Athens, verbally committed Tuesday and is set to become (in February) the first Southeast Ohio signee since Drew Basil of Chillicothe in 2010 and the 10th Buckeye recruit from the region going back to Buster Howe in the class of 1988.
Ohio State had six players chosen in the 2014 NFL Draft, including a pair of first-rounders after only having a total of one first-rounder in the previous four drafts combined.
The draft marks the end of the line for the 2009 recruiting class, which became the second Ohio State recruiting class since 1999 to produce zero first-round picks, joining the ’08 class. Both of those were rated top five classes by Scout.com. The ’09 class, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation, can brag of more overall draft picks (six — Reid Fragel, Carlos Hyde, Corey Linsley, Jack Mewhort, Jonathan Newsome and John Simon) than the ’08 class (Mike Adams, DeVier Posey, Terrelle Pryor), which was ranked No. 4.
Newsome, a four-star recruit from Cleveland Glenville, transferred to Ball State and as near as I can tell is only the second player to sign with Ohio State since 1987, transfer out and still get drafted. Brandon Underwood is the other. Underwood signed in 2004 and finished his career as a Cincinnati Bearcat. That is out of 75 players.
The 2010 and ’11 classes are already assured of avoiding the fate of the two groups that immediately preceded them as they were represented respectively this year by Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier.
The second weekend in May was no ordinary one as the NFL draft brought nearly nonstop news beginning Thursday night.
The biggest news in Ohio was, of course, the Browns’ decision to draft Johnny Manziel in the first round on Thursday night. Manziel is a lightning rod who has excited the fanbase, but he probably won’t be handed the starting job by new head coach Mike Pettine. The Texas tornado will arrive in town to find a potential hometown hero in Cleveland’s own Brian Hoyer, who energized the fanbase himself for a few briefs weeks last season before blowing out his knee. What does the former Cleveland St. Ignatius Wildcat have to say? “Bring it on.”Continue reading Weekend in review: Talkin’ draft, draft draft→
After a two-year drought, Ohio State had two first-round picks in the 2014 NFL draft as Ryan Shazier went 15th to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bradley Roby went 31st to the Denver Broncos. The last time two Buckeyes were taken in the first round was 2009, when Malcolm Jenkins went to the Saints and Beanie Wells went to the Cardinals.
Shazier is 21st Buckeye picked by Steelers and the fifth in the past five years.
Last: Mike Adams, OT, 24th pick of the second round (56th overall). Other recents: DE Cameron Heyward, DE Thaddeus Gibson (who moved to LB) and DE Doug Worthington. Four of the five play on the defensive side of the ball, where former Ohio State star halfback Dick LeBeau is the long-time coordinator. First: Jack Dugger, end, 1st pick of second round in 1945.
Shazier is the 48th linebacker from Ohio State chosen in the common era (1967-present). First: Nick Roman, Bengals, 10th round 1970.
He is the ninth Ohio State linebacker picked in the first round. First: Rick Middleton, who went 13th overall to the Saints. The Broncos picked Randy Gradishar one pick later.
Props to Ray Farmer of the Cleveland Browns for bringing a little sanity to the discussion regarding Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater, who for my money looked like the most pro-ready QB in the country last season but has been the subject of much debate in what has been the silliest draft season I can remember.
Part of the narrative has included Bridgewater’s draft day, which was described as only average (with the understanding that such things are set up to be outstanding almost by default because of ideal circumstances) by the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, whose opinions I respect more than just about anybody in the business.
It’s not perfect as there are some duplicate schools and typos that need to be cleaned up, but it’s still awesome if you’re a nerd who wants to know where the best players come from (And if there was any doubt, I’ve proved I fall into that category with previous pieces on the recruiting of Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel and John Cooper at Ohio State for Buckeye Sports Bulletin).
I must say I am endlessly fascinated by these situations that come up from time to time in which a person suggests something that seems plausible and could perhaps even be true but fails almost completely to actually say anything to prove their point.
Before the NFL expanded its push into Thursday night (as ESPN consistently failed to deliver worthwhile college matchups over the past few seasons), I would have agreed it seemed like a risky proposition. Though my Twitter feed seems to be clogged with people complaining about the quality of the games, ratings were up last season.
In his “10 players to watch at the 2014 NFL Combine” for the National Football Post, Dave Miller compares former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron to Andy Dalton, saying that he has a chance to have a beginning of a career similar to the Bengals quarterback. That’s an interesting way to put it I would say because Dalton’s early career has been very admirable. The big question now is where he and the Bengals go from here.
Better quarterbacks have had great careers that didn’t start off as well as Andy Dalton, although there are other good quarterbacks especially recently who have had as good or better starts than him from a numbers perspective.
Dalton is an interesting case because he doesn’t have the physical tools that create high early expectations for somebody like a Matthew Stafford or a Cam Newton, but now he’s won enough, in part because of him and in part because the situation created by the Bengals suddenly learning now to draft over the past five years or so, that the expectations are very high just the same.