Ohio State had a banner first day of the 2016 NFL draft with five Buckeyes selected, although they fell one short of tying the 2004 Miami Hurricanes for most first-round picks in a single year. A day later, they first matched then set a couple of draft standards.
In Friday’s second round, two more Buckeyes were drafted — wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Vonn Bell. That pushed OSU’s total to seven, tying USC in 2008 and Tennessee in 2000 for the most selections through the first two rounds since the common era began in 1967.
In the ensuing round, defensive lineman Adolphus Washington and quarterback-turned wide receiver Braxton Miller were selected. With the nine draft picks through three rounds, OSU broke the common-era draft record of eight set by the 2004 Vols. OSU wasn’t finished as, shortly after Miller’s selection, tight end Nick Vannett was grabbed toward the end of the third round, giving Urban Meyer‘s program an even 10 draft picks thus far.
On opening night, three Buckeyes were scooped up in the first 10 picks — defensive end Joey Bosa, running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Eli Apple — while offensive lineman Taylor Decker and linebacker Darron Lee were selected before the opening round ended.
With four rounds remaining, and six unselected players still available, the Buckeyes might not be done making history as they are within shouting distance of the all-time record for most selections since the draft went to seven rounds in 1994. The record? 14. The record holder? The 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes, which had seven players taken in the first three rounds.
And, before Bevo commences bloviating, it should be noted that Texas holds the all-time record with 17 picks in the 1984 draft. That year, the draft lasted 12 rounds.
A year after being upset by eventual national champion Ohio State in the College Football Playoff, Alabama dismantled Big Ten champion Michigan State in this year’s playoff en route to a national championship victory over Clemson. Alabama’s 38-0 blowout of Michigan State sent a rather loud message confirming Alabama was still a mighty force to reckon with. It also suggested Alabama had grown and improved from their initial playoff experience a year ago. There were some who felt Michigan State may have been deserving of a spot in the College Football Playoff based off overall body of work, but even some of those people would suggest the Spartans were not the best team in the Big Ten.
Despite losing at home to Michigan State late in the season, an argument could have been made Ohio State was the best team in the conference in 2015. The Buckeyes suffered a last-second loss in Columbus to Michigan State, opening the door for the Spartans to advance to the Big Ten Championship game, where it put together a masterful late touchdown drive to edge previously unbeaten Iowa in a defensive battle. Ohio State had to settle for knocking around rival Michigan in the first meeting between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh. The Buckeyes went on to the Fiesta Bowl to face Notre Dame in the New Years Six line-up, but not without regrets for not defending its national title belt in the fatal four-way of the playoff. As Michigan State was blown away by Alabama, some Buckeyes could not help but think they would have had a better shot at giving Alabama a good fight once again.
“I think we would have definitely done a better job,” Ohio State defensive back Tyvis Powell said this week during Senior Bowl preparations in Mobile, Alabama (via Al.com). “I was shocked [Michigan State] didn’t score a point. It is what it is. It was very disappointing. But, Alabama, it was their year. I guess everybody has their year and it was their time to win.”
So what would have happened if the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide would have squared off one more time in this season’s playoff?
“I didn’t get to watch much film on them, but I know it would have been a hell of a game,” Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett said. “(Alabama) might have done a little better this year than they were last year. And I think the way we played in the last couple of games, we could have played against any team in the country. I know it would have been another war like it was the year before. So it would have been interesting to see.”
It sure would have been interesting to see. Maybe next year?