The selection of Ohio State center Corey Linsley in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft drew a clear line in the sand. His selection by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 161 overall pick made him the final Buckeye to be drafted of the five OSU prospects that were thought to be locks to be chosen.
Linebacker Ryan Shazier (No. 15, Pittsburgh Steelers) and cornerback Bradley Roby (No. 31, Denver Broncos) had come off the board in the first round, while running back Carlos Hyde (No. 57, San Francisco 49ers) and offensive tackle Jack Mewhort (No. 59, Indianapolis Colts) heard their names called one round later.
After those five – which gave Ohio State its 28th draft with at least five picks – anything else was a bonus. Although the wait was lengthy, one more Buckeye found an NFL home when the St. Louis Rams snapped up safety Christian Bryant with the No. 241 overall pick in the seventh round.
For Linsley, who rooted for the Packers as a child, the pick offers a chance to compete immediately for a starting role despite being picked on the third day. The Packers drafted a center in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft, but J.C. Tretter didn't see the field because of injuries.
Whoever wins the job will become the Packers' fourth center in as many years.
"It's going to be interesting," Packers offensive line coach James Campen said. "It's going to be very competitive. They all know that in the room."
Linsley was an all-Big Ten selection in 2013 as Ohio State set offensive records and was one of six players to be named as a permanent team captain. He started at center for all 26 games under head coach Urban Meyer as OSU won a school-record 24 consecutive games during that span.
As much as Linsley was expected to be picked, Bryant's future was very much in doubt after breaking his ankle during the second-to-last defensive snap of Ohio State's 31-24 win against Wisconsin on Sept. 28.
He never played another down for the Buckeyes but joined Linsley as a permanent captain for the 2013 campaign.
"That's behind me now, to be honest with you," he said at his Pro Day. "Like I said before, everything happens for a reason. I'm not quite sure why it happened just yet, but I mean, I'm pretty sure I'll figure it out sometime here soon."
That moment likely came when the Rams picked up the phone and told him they were selecting him. Just as he was confident he would be picked, he's confident that he will be able to make an impact in the NFL.
"If you look at the safeties in the NFL, the best safeties right now aren't even above 6-0," Bryant said. "You've got Earl Thomas, you've got Jairus Byrd, you've got Troy Polamalu – none of those guys are above 6-0. It's not really about the physical attributes. It's about how you prepare for a game, how you attack the whole situation and you've got to be fearless out there."
Undrafted Free Agents