Ohio State sent 14 players into the 2004 NFL draft – a record for a seven-round draft.
Now, two years later with the 2006 draft set for Saturday and Sunday, OSU could threaten some more draft history. The Buckeyes could threaten the record of six first-round picks, set by Miami (Fla.) in that same 2004 draft. The Hurricanes, in fact, placed an unprecedented six players in the draft's first 21 picks.
It may be a stretch for Ohio State to match that Miami mark. But the Buckeyes have the possibility to approach and set a new draft standard of their own. Ohio State has had as many as four first-round picks once before in 1971. OSU has boasted as many as three first-round picks six other times, most recently in 2004.
It seems that linebacker A.J. Hawk and wide receiver Santonio Holmes are certain first-round picks. Four other Buckeyes – center Nick Mangold, linebacker Bobby Carpenter, cornerback Ashton Youboty and safety Donte Whitner – have also been mentioned as possible first-round picks in various draft projections.
OSU coach Jim Tressel is hoping his outgoing players can realize their dreams as professional players beginning on Saturday.
"That's what you hope for. You hope for the best. Guys come and set goals," Tressel said. "They want to be the best at what they do. If you get picked in the first round, that's a pretty good indication that you're pretty good at what you do. There are only 32 spots. We know a lot of guys who will go in the first round, so it's going to be tight."
This will mark the first time Tressel will be able to watch the draft unfold since he arrived at OSU in 2001.
"We have always played our spring game on that (draft) day," Tressel said. "I'm going to watch it. I'll be on the edge of my seat as the first day ends. That's when, I know, some of the guys who have not been drafted yet will have a tough night and probably not get much sleep. It will be fun to watch it for the first time."
Tressel said his draft-eligible players have been very busy jetting all over the country meeting with teams.
"The NFL increased the number of guys they can bring to their cities," Tressel said. "Our guys have been so busy visiting teams. They used to be able to bring in 20. Now they can each bring in 30 and our guys have been all over the place. It's exciting. I think some exciting things are going to happen on Saturday."
As it stands, the TFY Draft Preview mock draft released earlier this week – at nfldraft.scout.com – has three Ohio State players in the first round. That preview (linked below) has Hawk, Holmes and Whitner all in the first round. However, there are draft projections that also have included Mangold, Carpenter and Youboty in the first round.
Here is the link to TFY's latest draft projection:
In that projection, TFY Draft Preview's Tony Pauline has the overall top five in this order:
USC running back Reggie Bush to the Houston Texans;
N.C. State defensive end Mario Williams to the New Orleans Saints;
USC quarterback Matt Leinart reuniting with Norm Chow with the Tennessee Titans;
Virginia offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson going to the New York Jets; and
OSU's Hawk going fifth overall to the Green Bay Packers.
"The top six or seven kids are solidified pretty much," Pauline said. "The order will probably be dictated by New Orleans and whether they take Mario Williams No. 2. Then, it will be up to the Jets to decide if they want to take Ferguson fourth or perhaps go for Hawk."
Below are bios on each of OSU's draft-eligible players, including highlights from their OSU careers, personal information, draft projections by Pauline as well as by Bucknuts.com's Steve Helwagen and Dave Biddle and even some comments on each player from Tressel, himself. (Note: These players are listed in approximate draft order.)
A.J. Hawk, OLB
* Height, Weight -- 6-2, 247 pounds; Hometown -- Centerville, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights (courtesy OSU Athletic Communications) -- One of the top linebackers in Ohio State history, taking his place alongside the likes of Ike Kelley, Randy Gradishar, Tom Cousineau and Chris Spielman just to name a few … won consensus All-America honors as a junior and senior and was the Lombardi Award winner as the Outstanding Defensive Player in college football as a senior … also a finalist for the Bednarik, Lott and Butkus awards in 2005 … the Big Ten's preseason and postseason defensive player of the year as a senior … the defensive MVP of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl as a senior … unanimous selection as team co-captain and MVP as a senior … unquestionably the premiere linebacker in college football in 2005 … always at his best in the big games … had a monster game against Texas, with 12 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery … his 12 tackles vs. Notre Dame included 3.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks … wound up the year with 121 tackles, the third year in a row that he has led the team … also paced the team in tackles-for-loss with 16.5 and sacks with 9.5 … top game this year was 19 tackles against Michigan State … top career game was 20 stops against Wisconsin in 2004 … is the fifth leading tackler in Ohio State history with 394 total stops … led the Buckeyes in tackles 10 times in 2005 … played in 50 games with 36 starts … had 18 games with 10 or more tackles … was the Defensive MVP of the 2004 Fiesta Bowl (following the 2003 season) … lone touchdown this year came on a recovery of a blocked punt against Northwestern … his ability to move on to the next play after the previous play is over helps explain his stellar play week after week after week.
* Personal (courtesy OSU Athletic Communications) -- Recently became engaged to Laura Quinn the sister of Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, who he sacked twice in the Fiesta Bowl … has two older brothers – Matt and Ryan … Ryan played quarterback at Ohio University … likes the out-of-doors and enjoys hunting, fishing, trap shooting and golf as ways of relaxing … let his hair grow to shoulder length this year in tribute to former Arizona State linebacker Pat Tillman, who lost his life in Iraq.
* Pauline on Hawk --"He's a smart football player. He is an intense football player. He goes very hard. He is a good person as well. He is a good character guy and that comes across in his (team) interviews. He has the makings of being a productive starter in the NFL for a long time. Some people may be concerned about his size. They want linebackers to be 6-4 and 255 pounds. There may be concern about that, but when you look at everything else you have to like it.
"We have him, right now, going as the No. 5 pick overall to Green Bay."
* Helwagen on Hawk --"A.J. had an incredible three-year run as a linebacker for the Buckeyes. He was the best linebacker in college football this past year and is the best linebacker on everybody's draft board. People say that Ross Homan is the next A.J. Hawk. Well, A.J. Hawk is the next or latest Chris Spielman. That means he should enjoy a nice 10- or 12-year NFL career and has a chance to be one of the best linebackers in the league.
"He turned a 4.4-second 40 during his pro day workout and that only cemented his case to be a top-five pick. It should be fun to watch him play pro football on Sundays for the next decade or so. I also think he fits in with the Packers at No. 5."
* Biddle on Hawk -- "He is a certain top-10 pick. The All-American and Lombardi Award winner could go as high as the top five. He will likely be the second defensive player off the board, behind N.C. State defensive end Mario Williams. Linebackers do not usually go in the top 10 of the draft – even great ones. But Hawk will be an exception. He's a tackling machine, he's athletic, and he's a high character guy. A leader-by-example who could make several trips to the Pro Bowl during his career.
"Hawk always had the "overachiever" label until he ran a 4.47 for scouts at OSU's pro day as a junior in 2005. (He ran a 4.52 at this year's pro day.) In fact, many OSU fans questioned whether Hawk or Bobby Carpenter would be a higher draft pick. Hawk silenced any critics as a senior, with the possible exception of Butkus Award voters."
* Tressel on Hawk -- "If (Green Bay drafts) him, they won't be disappointed because he'll be everything in their community … He's just a throwback guy. The Packers would love him, but a lot of other folks would love him and some of them have a pick before the Packers."
Santonio Holmes, WR
* Height, Weight -- 5-11, 190 pounds; Hometown -- Belle Glade, Fla.
* OSU Highlights -- Ohio State's go-to receiver each of the past two seasons … redshirted in 2002, then played the next three years before opting to enter the NFL draft at the end of his junior year (2005) ... was thrust into a starting role midway through the 2003 campaign when Drew Carter went down with a season-ending knee injury late in the first half at Indiana … made a spectacular debut at IU, entering the game just before halftime and going on to catch six passes for 153 yards and a pair of touchdowns … has since gone on to catch at least two passes in 30 consecutive games … runs crisp, precise routes and gets open with ridiculous ease … has great hands and the burst necessary to run away from defenders … finished the 2005 season with a team-high 53 receptions … saved his best for last, snagging a season-high six receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown against Michigan and then grabbing five for 124 yards and a TD against Notre Dame in the bowl game … his 85-yard TD catch against the Irish was the longest play from scrimmage of the year for the Buckeyes in 2005 … had a clutch 36-yard touchdown grab in the Texas game in which he beat double coverage … closed out his career as the fifth leading receiver in OSU annals with 141 receptions … his 25 touchdown receptions rank third in school annals behind David Boston (34) and Cris Carter (27) and his yardage total of 2,295 is third all-time … averaged 16.3 yards per reception for his career … scored four TDs in three games against Michigan … top game in terms of receptions is 10, first against Marshall and then against Michigan State in 2004 … had 229 receiving yards in the win over Marshall in 2004, the second best effort in Ohio State history (surpassed only by Terry Glenn's 253 vs. Pitt in 1995) … 80-yard TD catch against the Herd was his high before the 85-yarder against Notre Dame … also returned punts and kickoffs for the Buckeyes … averaged 12.8 yards per punt runback and 21.7 yards per kick return in 2005 … longest punt return was 35 yards vs. San Diego State, longest kick return was 47 yards against Texas … netted 109 yards in kickoff returns against Texas … averaged 113 all-purpose yards in 2005.
* Personal -- Is a second cousin of Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor … has three younger siblings, Kenneth, De'Vontae and Ja'Ven … has two sons, Santonio III and Nicori … lists Marvin Harrison as his favorite NFL receiver and Michael Jordan as his favorite athlete … his high school football team won state his sophomore and junior years and fashioned a 12-1 record his senior year … also played basketball (team was runner-up in the state tournament his junior season) and ran track (member of the state championship 4x400 team as a junior and senior).
* Pauline on Holmes -- "We have him going No. 16 overall to the Miami Dolphins. They need a second receiver and he can be that kind of guy. He is in that slot probably more because of the fact this is a very week receiver draft. But Holmes is consistent. He doesn't have great size, but he did run a 4.33 40. He is a solid, polished guy. He does a good job of getting separation. He reads defenses well and finds the open seam."
* Helwagen on Holmes-- "Holmes is truly a self-made man. He worked hard to make himself in a player and he delivered touchdown after touchdown for Ohio State the last 2-1/2 seasons. He went out in fine fashion with touchdowns against Michigan and Notre Dame in his last couple of years. He really excelled at the hard-to-make catch and because of his concentration should be a good pro.
"I can only imagine what kind of thrill this would be for Holmes to go back home to south Florida and play for the Dolphins. He would be surrounded by family and friends and has a chance to be a great hometown hero for Miami."
* Biddle on Holmes -- "Holmes is probably a top-20 pick. One of the more interesting storylines of the mid-first round will be seeing which WR is first off the board. It will either be Holmes, or Florida's Chad Jackson. I think it will be Holmes, who is a more explosive player, and also runs better routes.
"I do not buy most of the negative comments that have ‘leaked out' about Holmes. I chalk that up to the yearly tradition known as smoke screening. I look for Holmes to be off the board as early as pick No. 15. He has everything you want in a receiver except ideal size."
* Tressel on Holmes -- "I think Santonio is going to be special. He is very physical and he has worked hard at it. He is a very good blocker. He has the quickest hands and feet of anyone I have coached. He is not 6-4 and 215 pounds, but he has amazing explosion."
Donte Whitner, SS
* Height, Weight -- 5-11, 205 pounds; Hometown -- Cleveland.
* OSU Highlights -- Hard hitting safety who opted for the NFL at the end of his junior year in 2005 …. started for the first time on a regular basis in 2005 and wound up second on the team in solos with 55 and third in total tackles with 73 … also had nine tackles for loss, four sacks, six passes broken up and a pair of interceptions, including a 26-yard return for a touchdown against Miami (Ohio) … played in 35 of a possible 37 games during his career and had 17 starts … top game in terms of tackles was 17 against Wisconsin in 2004, including a career-high 11 solo stops … top game in 2005 was 11 tackles against Michigan State … also had 10 stops at Minnesota, nine vs. Notre Dame in the bowl game and eight against Texas in 2005 … named defensive player of the week following the Miami and Minnesota games … had the hit of the week against Michigan State … has five career interceptions … finished his career with 165 total tackles … played in all 13 games as a freshman and scored his first collegiate touchdown by falling on a blocked punt in the end zone against visiting Iowa … picked off his first career interception against Indiana in 2003, setting up an OSU score just before intermission … also had a pick against Michigan State in 2003 … started five games in 2004 … in addition to his 17 tackles against Wisconsin in 2004, he also reached double digits against Northwestern (12) and Iowa (10) that year … broke into the starting lineup at N.C. State in 2004.
* Personal -- Attended his first Ohio State game in 2001 at Michigan where the Buckeyes came away with a 26-20 upset win … has a younger brother Dawawn who is 15 … calls singing Carmen Ohio after a game his favorite Ohio State tradition … lists OSU's back-to-back wins against Michigan and Notre Dame as the highlight of his career.
* Pauline on Whitner -- "He is a solid developmental guy. He is not there yet, but he is very athletic. What I like about him is he is good against the run and also very good in coverage. He's a guy you can place over the slot receiver on third down. He projects as a strong safety, but could also be a free safety in the NFL. He would see spot duty for now until he develops into a starter.
"We have him go No. 32 overall to Pittsburgh on the last pick of the first round. They may want another explosive safety and he could be the perfect complement to Troy Polamalu."
* Helwagen on Whitner -- "I think some people believed Whitner was jumping the gun by leaving school a year early. After all, Mike Doss was faced with the same decision after the 2001 season and, after seeing the soft market for safeties (it is rare that any of them ever go in the first round), he opted to come back to Ohio State.
"But Whitner took the plunge. He has reportedly responded in a big way and his stock has gone up and up. Though some have talked about him at corner (and he really only worked there in practice at OSU), he is a safety all the way. I think late first round or early second is where he'll be."
* Biddle on Whitner -- "I have Whitner pegged for the early second round. I know I'm in the minority on this one, and that's fine. I'm sticking to my guns and saying Whitner will not be a first round pick. At this point it looks like he might have to be the 33rd overall pick in order to prove me right, but what fun would it be to back down now? Listen, Whitner is a tremendous football player and was one of the most underrated players in the Big Ten the last two years.
"I love his hard-nosed attitude, his speed, and his sure-tackling ability. Yes, he's a big hitter, but he's also a good tackler. And that's more important. But all that aside, NFL GMs have proven that they do not like to take small safeties in the first round of the draft. Could this be the year that changes? Maybe. But they are going to have to prove it to me first. Whitner measured 5-10, 204 at the NFL combine. But he also broke off a 4.37-second 40, which made a lot of people forget about his size. And honestly, the way he plays, I don't think size will be an issue on the next level. He plays big. But his coverage skills will be tested."* Tressel on Whitner -- "When we sat down and talked about the pros and cons of going out, one of the things we talked about, very frankly, is the key for him was going to be his workouts at the combine and individually. We thought he was a solid second-round guy, but he could elevate if he worked hard and got to know the coaches.
"If you sit down and watch film with him, he is going to impress you. His explosion and his times and all of that are going to impress you. We thought worst case scenario he would be a second-round guy, but if he presented himself well he could be in the first round."
Nick Mangold, C
* Height, Weight -- 6-4, 290 pounds; Hometown -- Centerville, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights -- Four-year letterman and three-year starter at center for the Buckeyes … one of the top centers in college football last year … can literally do it all … is physical, smart, tough and competitive … made all the calls up front his junior and senior seasons … plays low and plays quick … appeared in 45 games, with 33 starts, during his college career … an iron man who topped 300 minutes in playing time each of his last three years … selected by his teammates as a co-captain in 2005 … OSU offensive coordinator Jim Bollman compares him favorably to former Buckeye center LeCharles Bentley … has great power at the point of attack and also has the ability to pull and lead the play … played in eight games as a true freshman behind Alex Stepanovich … took over for Stepanovich in game three the following season (2003) when the latter suffered a knee injury … started the final 11 games of the year at center with Stepanovich moving to guard when he returned … was the starter the next two years (2004 and 2005) at center … named to several preseason All-America teams and was a finalist for the Rimington Award as the top center in college football in 2005 … was a five-time pick by the coaching staff as the lineman of the week in 2005 … won that honor seven times in 2004 … helped the Buckeyes average 422 yards per game – 196.7 rushing and 225.7 passing … dominated in the Fiesta Bowl game where the OSU offense rolled up 617 yards.
* Personal -- Has three younger sisters, one of whom played high school football last year as a sophomore at Kettering Alter … great personality, easy-going guy who loves the game and always seems to have a smile on his face … relaxes by playing cards and watching television.
* Pauline on Mangold -- "He was very efficient and effective as a college player. He could also go in the first round, but it is somewhat of a numbers game. He is a smart, intelligent guy. He is not a great athlete and not a big guy, but he consistently gets the job done. I thought he was a very underrated guy going into his senior year. He did a good job in his senior year. He had a tremendous Senior Bowl and did a great job there against (Michigan's) Gabe Watson.
"He probably would not be as effective in a system like the Denver Broncos have with the demands they put on their offensive line. But I think he can be productive."
* Helwagen on Mangold -- "Mangold oozes personality and is just a solid kid all the way around. Any team that takes him will know he will still be there in seven or eight years. He was always solid on exchanges and the OSU coaches liked the way he handled his assignments in reading opposing defenses and making line calls. He is deceptively competitive, if that makes any sense, and should be a fine pro. Another guy who could enjoy a great pro career.
"His draft slot will depend on how badly one of the teams late in the first round needs a center. Maybe that would be the New York Jets at No. 29. Either way, he should be gone by the 40th or 45th pick overall."
* Biddle on Mangold -- "I see Nick going late in the first round. Mangold will be the first center off the board, sweet redemption after hearing he was the second best at his position in the Big Ten the past two years behind Minnesota's Greg Eslinger. Two of Mangold's goals heading into his senior year were to be selected first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-American.
"But his signing bonus as a late first round, possibly early second round pick will make him forget all about that. Known as a technique-sound, athletic, intelligent player early in his career, Mangold was all that and more as a senior. He worked hard in the weight room throughout his time at OSU and really proved to be a mauler his final year in college. It carried over to the Senior Bowl when he impressed NFL general managers and coaches throughout the week."
* Tressel on Mangold -- "The thing we talked about all along with Nick was the relevancy of who gets hype. Who the All-Americans are and all of that stuff is one thing. But who the best player is is another."
Bobby Carpenter, OLB
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 255 pounds; Hometown -- Lancaster, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights -- Two-year starter and four-year letter winner for the Buckeyes … played in a total of 50 games during his career and recorded 26 starts … broke his ankle on the first play of the Michigan game as a senior and missed the bowl game against Notre Dame … credited with 49 tackles before being hurt, including career highs in tackles-for-loss (10.5) and sacks (8) … tied a school record and was named National Defensive Player of the Week following a four-sack performance against Michigan State … had a season-high 11 tackles against MSU, matching his total earlier in the year against Texas … career high in tackles at OSU was 13 vs. Michigan State and Marshall in 2004 … very physical player and an emotional leader … won second-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior … played on the special teams as a freshman and sophomore, but also started three games as a sophomore … became a regular at the beginning of his junior year and was a fixture in the lineup until being hurt at Michigan … gave the defense an added dimension as a senior, occasionally lining up on the edge as a defensive end … dressed for the Notre Dame game, but did not play.
* Personal -- His dad, Rob, played at Miami (Ohio) and later in the NFL before becoming a successful high school coach … would like to follow in his father's footsteps after his playing career is over … has three younger brothers, one of whom, Jonathan, plays football at the University of Cincinnati … plays the piano, likes playing chess and shooting pool … favorite professional player is Lawrence Taylor.
* Pauline on Carpenter -- "Because of the injury, he did not get to play in the Senior Bowl. That probably hurt him. I like Carpenter. He is a size and speed guy. He has a lot of upside and potential. He is a little bit stiff, but I think you can use him as a strongside linebacker."
* Helwagen on Carpenter -- "When Carpenter was injured in the Michigan game, many wondered how that would impact his draft status. It appears that the injury healed in the proper time, allowing Carpenter to rehab it and do just enough for pro scouts and coaches to preserve his draft status. Before the injury, I thought he was a late first-round pick as a versatile LB who could play several spots.
"I imagine some teams will downrate him a few spots. There has been talk he could go to the Steelers on the last pick of the first round. I think, again, you are looking at a guy who will play for a long time in the NFL."
* Biddle on Carpenter -- "I think Carpenter will be a late first round pick. He could go early in the second round, but I think he might go to Pittsburgh with final pick of the first round (if LenDale White doesn't slip that far). He has the chance to be a Mike Vrabel-type outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme with his ability to rush the passer, stop the run, and drop into coverage. Second round wouldn't even be a consideration for Carpenter if he wasn't coming off a broken leg.
"He would be a first round lock. But since he has almost made a full recovery, it won't hurt his stock too much. He could go as early as pick 25 of the first round. Having NFL bloodlines will do nothing but help him. His father, Rob, was an NFL running back for the New York Giants and Houston Oilers."
* Tressel on Carpenter -- "Bobby, I think could play any one of the linebacker positions. I think he did a good job of presenting himself. Everywhere he went, someone knew his dad and that was kind of an icebreaker for him. That was a plus for Bobby as he was being interviewed. I think he listened to his dad about the difficulty and the challenge of playing at that level. That's got to be a bonus for him."
Ashton Youboty, CB
* Height, Weight -- 6-1, 188 pounds; Hometown -- Klein, Texas.
* OSU Highlights -- Played in 37 games and had 22 career starts during his three years at Ohio State, leaving at the end of his junior year (2005) for the NFL … won first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2005 … finished the 2005 campaign with 56 total tackles, the fourth highest total on the team and the second highest in the secondary … also had a team-high nine passes broken up … career figures include 131 tackles, 23 passes broken up and nine interceptions … lone interception of the year came in the win over Northwestern … his 72-yard touchdown return of a blocked field goal attempt just before halftime of the Michigan State game was unquestionably the biggest play of the season , sparking a seven-game winning streak to close out the season … also blocked a field goal attempt against Michigan State … top game in terms of tackles in 2005 was nine at Minnesota … also had eight stops against Miami … excellent cover corner who excels against the run … is a mentally tough and smart football player … enrolled spring quarter of 2003 to get an early jump on the college game … wound up playing in all 13 games that year and made his first collegiate start at Michigan … started nine games in 2004 and played in all 12 … had a career-best 61 tackles, including a career-high 12 in a come-from-behind win at Michigan State in 2004 … recorded interceptions against North Carolina State, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan in 2004 … shut down Michigan All-American Braylon Edwards in the fourth quarter of a 37-21 win over the Wolverines in 2004 … started all 12 games in 2005.
* Personal -- Is of Liberian descent … moved to Philadelphia when he was four, then to Texas when he was in the eighth grade … has one younger sister (Masanghai) and two younger brothers (Yousif and John) …favorite football player is Barry Sanders … favorite football memory is leading his high school team to a win over rival Cy Falls in which he blocked a field goal attempt to send the game into overtime and then blocked an extra point try to preserve the win for Klein.
* Pauline on Youboty -- "He plays very good. You look at his size and speed and that is basically what every NFL team wants in a corner. He has shown some shutdown cover skills. I actually thought he was better as a sophomore than he was as a junior. He seemed to struggle a bit in the second half of last year.
"He could go in the late part of Round 1. But I think he is a long-term developmental guy. I think if he could have gone back to Ohio State and gotten his game on track he could have been a top-15 or top-20 pick easily in 2007."
* Helwagen on Youboty -- "I am a big Ashton Youboty fan. He is a big corner who can run. There were times – against Minnesota and Michigan – where he did get twisted around a bit and he allowed some big balls to be completed. But those instances were few and far between. As mentioned above, I think back to the job he did late in 2004 and realize there is a ton of talent here and he is a pretty good guy to boot. He'd be another late first- or early second-round pick, in my book."
* Biddle on Youboty -- "I see Youboty going late in the first round. I actually think Donte Whitner is a better player, but one staple of the NFL draft is that corners are at a premium and always seem to be taken ahead of more-deserving safeties. I think Youboty is second round talent who sneaks into the late first round. He has the chance to be a very good pro.
"In fact, I think he will be better than Ahmed Plummer, another former first round corner from OSU. There have been five OSU corners taken in the first round of the draft since 1997: Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Plummer, Nate Clements and Chris Gamble. Will Youboty be the next? I think so, but just barely."
Mike Kudla, DE
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 265 pounds; Hometown -- Medina, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights -- Two-year starter and four-year letter winner at defensive end for the Buckeyes … won first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2005 as a senior … finished the 2005 campaign with a career-high 41 tackles … second on the team in tackles for loss with 11.5 and tied with A. J. Hawk for the team lead in sacks with 9.5 for a minus-71 yards … had a monster game against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, finishing with seven tackles, including three sacks for a combined loss of 25 yards … big, strong and fast … garnered national attention at Minnesota when he ran down Gopher running back Laurence Maroney from behind, collared him with one hand and with apparently no effort whatsoever threw him to the Metrodome turf … named defensive player of the week by the OSU coaching staff following the San Diego State and Illinois games … nine tackles against the Illini in 2005 is his career high … had tackles-for-loss in eight of the Buckeyes' 12 games in 2005 … played in 50 games and had 18 starts as a Buckeye … 90 career tackles, including 69 the past two years … played in all 14 games as a true freshman in 2002, the Buckeyes' national championship year and had 12 tackles … played in all 13 games the following year and had nine tackles, including his first tackle-for-loss against Northwestern … recovered a fumble in the end zone against Purdue in 2003, the lone TD of the day for OSU in a 16-13 overtime win … figured to start in 2004, but missed time early in the year with a pinched nerve and had to play a reserve role … made his first start against Indiana in week seven and went on to record 18 of his 28 tackles in the last four games … missed the North Carolina State game in 2004 with an injury, the only game he did not play in during his four years at Ohio State … even though he won All-Big Ten honors, still a vastly underrated football player, who combines size and speed … the strongest player on the team in 2005.
* Personal -- Contracted a viral infection following the national championship game in 2002, lost 40 pounds, dropped out of school winter quarter and was so sick at one point that he received "the last rites" … miraculously recovered and was able to return the following fall, although, he was not the same player early-on that he was before becoming ill … has two brothers and two sisters … hobbies include lifting weights and wood working … attributes much of his strength and work ethic to growing up in a rural area and working on a farm.
* Pauline on Kudla -- "Kudla may be a much more athletic version of Mike Vrabel. He probably was not as consistent as Vrabel was during his time at Ohio State. But Kudla has great intensity and a knack for making plays. One issue may be do you play him at defensive end or outside linebacker? You could stick him at outside linebacker in a 3-4 or line him up as a pass rusher in a 4-3.
"He had 45 reps on the (225-pound) bench press at the combine. You just have to like his sheer intensity and the way he chased plays all over the field. I think he is probably a third- or fourth-round guy."
* Helwagen on Kudla -- "Mike Kudla is another self-made man. I think back to when OSU was recruiting him and you could see the frame. But he put the time in at the weight room to make himself a special talent and you can tell it means a lot to him. He has had a pretty good three- or four-year career at Ohio State and I think he'll make some inroads at the NFL level. He may need to pick a position – either end or linebacker – and tailor his body accordingly. My guess is late third round or early on the second day for Kudla."
* Biddle on Kudla -- "I have Kudla pegged in the late fourth/early fifth round range. He tied the record with 45 bench reps (225) at the NFL combine. He also possesses good straight-line speed for a rush end. However, he lacks ideal height (measured 6-1 ½ at the combine) and doesn't have a tremendously quick burst.
"It will be interesting to see how high he goes. He could also play outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, which should help his value. He is ranked anywhere between 20-24 among the defensive ends by most draft services."
* Tressel on Kudla -- "I said from the beginning that Mike Kudla may be a little bit unsung. There are a lot of teams calling about him. I don't hear a lot of people outside the NFL in the media or fans talking about him. But he may be the most unsung guy in this group."
Nate Salley, FS
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 220 pounds; Hometown -- Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
* OSU Highlights -- Three-year starter at safety for Ohio State … has been a steady and dependable performer throughout his career … inspirational player … coaches love his attitude and work ethic … rarely makes a mistake or is out of position … elected by his teammates as a team co-captain as a senior in 2005 … also received first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior … played in 49 games and had 32 starts as a Buckeye … career totals include 100 solos, 181 total tackles, 15 passes broken up and three interceptions … finished the 2005 campaign with 43 tackles and had a career-high six passes broken up … career high in tackles is 12 against Wisconsin in 2004 … top game in 2005 was seven stops in the win over Michigan State … also blocked a field goal attempt by Michigan State just before halftime that was returned 72 yards for a touchdown by teammate Ashton Youboty and completely turned that game, and perhaps the season, around … played in all 14 games as true freshman, almost all of his time coming with the special teams … broke into the starting lineup the following year in 2003 and started the last 11 games of the season … had his best year in 2003 in terms of tackles, finishing with 77, including 44 solos … injured his shoulder in the first half of the Penn State game in 2004 and missed two weeks, ending a string of 19 consecutive starts … returned to action against Michigan and had three tackles and an interception … won second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2004 … also lettered in basketball as a true freshman for OSU, joining the team after the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and playing in 10 games.
* Personal -- Enjoys writing poetry … two of his favorite traditions at Ohio State are the OH—IO cheer and singing the school alma mater "Carmen Ohio" in the stadium at the end of a home game … always handles himself well and is a terrific representative of the university.
* Pauline on Salley -- "I think he is probably a second day pick (last four rounds). He is a conventional strong safety guy. He has played in a two-deep zone system. He has marginal ball skills. He just has some limitations."
* Helwagen on Salley -- "The upside for Salley is he runs and hits well for 220 pounds. I would agree that he still needs work in the pass defense phase of his game. But he has a ton of college experience and will be a great fit on a team that has above-average corners and another gifted safety. I see him in the third or fourth round."
* Biddle on Salley -- "I have Nate going in the fifth round. Salley has NFL size and speed, but has the reputation of often being a step late in coverage. However, he's a big hitter, a high-character guy and should be off the board by the middle part of the second day. In fact, I think he would be a nice steal at that point of the draft. Donnie Nickey was a fifth round pick by the Titans in 2003 and is doing well, and Salley was a better college player than Nickey."
Rob Sims, OG
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 310 pounds; Hometown -- Macedonia, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights -- Won first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in his first year at guard … also selected as team captain as a senior … was a mainstay of an offensive line that helped the Buckeyes average 422 yards per game in 2005, including 196.7 rushing and 225.7 through the air … was named offensive lineman of the week following the Texas and Northwestern games … started 40 of the 47 games he played in at Ohio State … played a vital role as a freshman in 2002, appearing in 11 games and starting five times, including the national championship game … has great feet and is an exceptional pass protector … started 12 of 13 games in 2003 at left tackle and 11 of 12 in 2004 at the same position before moving to guard in 2005 … willingly made the latter move to help the team … is a durable performer who has played 300 or more minutes each of the past three years … very articulate and often times served as the team spokesman.
* Personal -- His father played for the Cleveland Browns (1977-79) and is now a Cleveland police officer … his mother, a graduate of Hartford, is a teacher … likes to go to movies and hang out with his friends … would have to be described as a real "people person" … takes great pride in his wardrobe and especially enjoys breaking out new threads on game day.
* Pauline on Sims -- "I think Rob Sims is on the upswing. He has sort of been an enigma. He played early and people expected maybe more from him the last couple of years. But he did well inside at guard. He has size and athleticism. He is probably an early second day pick. He has starter potential at the NFL level."
* Helwagen on Sims -- "Rob Sims has played a ton of college football. The move from tackle to guard for his senior year makes him much more marketable. I can't imagine him ever being more than a stop gap for an NFL team at tackle. But I think he has the body and the mind-set to be a regular at guard. He's a guy who, if he gets the proper breaks, could be an eight- or 10-year pro. If he's there in Round 4 or Round 5, I'd take him."
* Biddle on Sims -- "I see Sims going early in the fourth round. He is ranked as the fifth-best guard on the board by several draft analysts. He would like nothing more than to go in the late third round on Saturday so he can get a good night's sleep. But I think he might have to wait until the early part of the second day.
"Sims was a full-time starter for three years at OSU, and even started a few games on the Buckeyes' national championship team as a true freshman in 2002. He's strong, technically sound, and could play in the league for many years. Alex Stepanovich and Shane Olivea are two second day linemen from OSU who are currently thriving in the league."
* Tressel on Sims -- "I think Rob Sims is more suited for guard. We thought that when we recruited him. The beautiful thing about Rob Sims is he would do whatever the team needed done."
Anthony Schlegel, LB
* Height, Weight -- 6-1, 251 pounds; Hometown -- Highland, Texas.
* OSU Highlights -- Transferred to Ohio State from Air Force in April of 2003 and sat out the fall season in accordance with NCAA rules … has played in all 24 games the past two years and has started 19 of those games … began the 2004 season as a backup to Mike D'Andrea, but moved into the starting lineup in late October when the former went down with a knee injury … started the last seven games of '04 and all 12 games in 2005 … finished third on the team in tackles in 2004 with 84 and second in '05 with 81 … had 15 tackles, including 13 solos, against Iowa in 2004, both personal highs at Ohio State … may have had his best game as a Buckeye in 2005 at Michigan, where he had 10 tackles and was all over the field, helping negate the loss of injured Bobby Carpenter (broken foot on the first play of the game) … teamed with Carpenter and A. J. Hawk to give the Buckeyes the best trio of college linebackers in the country in 2005 … other noteworthy performances in 2005 include 10 tackles in the win over Michigan State and eight against Texas … led the team in tackles-for-loss in 2004 with 10.5 … in addition to 15 stops against Iowa, he had double digit showings in tackles against Purdue (12), Indiana (10) and Penn State (10) … was team captain at Air Force as a sophomore … had a career-high 19 stops against Notre Dame and 17 against Utah in 2002 … was the defensive MVP of the Diamond Walnut Bowl in 2002 … including his Air Force stats, his four-year totals are 330 tackles, 31.5 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks in 47 games.
* Personal -- Was married on Valentine's Day of 2004 … his wife, Stephanie, is a Texas A&M graduate and teaches school in Hilliard on the outskirts of Columbus … is an avid hunter, bowler and golfer (has gone wild boar hunting with a knife and wants to go bear hunting with a bow) … received his degree at the end of Winter Quarter 2006 … is an admirer of former Chicago Bears great Dick Butkus and has a black lab named Butkus … set two world dead-lift records in the 19-and-under age group … unquestionably the free spirit on the team and a terrific leader.
* Pauline on Schlegel -- "He is a late-round guy. Right now, he is a two-down defender. Maybe he would fit in as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He might play middle linebacker in a conventional 4-3 set-up. He is marginal athletically and has minimal ball skills. He'd have to come off the field on third-and-6."
* Helwagen on Schlegel -- "I have some of the same misgivings about Schlegel after watching him for two years. But, again, you have a solid character guy who can be a strong leader. I know, NFL teams pay players to make plays. I think, given time, Schlegel can be a workable NFL linebacker in the right spot. He has improved his speed to the mid 4.6 range, which is a start. He knows the game backwards and forwards.
"I'd look for him to go in the sixth round. Maybe he gets his foot in the door as a long snapper and special teams guy and goes from there."
* Biddle on Schlegel -- "I see Schlegel going in the sixth round. Schlegel is an old-fashioned middle linebacker who doesn't have great speed, but is a sure tackler who can stuff the hole. Before transferring to OSU, he was the first sophomore to ever be elected captain at the Air Force Academy.
"Schlegel was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes and I think he will find his way on an NFL roster. He could go as high as the fifth round, but I think he'll hear his name sometime during the mid-sixth. He is ranked as the No. 11 middle linebacker by ESPN."
Marcus Green, DT
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 305 pounds; Hometown -- Louisville, Ky.
* OSU Highlights -- Four-year letterman … played both defensive end and defensive tackle for the Buckeyes … appeared in a total of 46 games and had 22 starts, including all 12 games as a senior in 2005 … had his best year as a senior, finishing the season with 37 tackles, including 4.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack … closed out his career with 86 total tackles, including eight tackles-for-loss and three sacks … most tackles in a game was eight against Penn State in 2004 … top effort in 2005 was seven tackles at Minnesota, a total that included five solo hits … recorded a sack against Michigan State, dropping MSU signal caller Drew Stanton 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage … played behind Tim Anderson and Darrion Scott his first two years so did not see a lot of playing time … did start three games as a sophomore in 2003 when Scott was hurt … first career start was Northwestern in 2003 … also started against Wisconsin and Iowa that year … 2004 starts came against Marshall, North Carolina State, Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan and Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl … lost 30 pounds at the end of his freshman year in an effort to get into better playing shape.
* Personal -- Is an avid basketball fan … enjoys movies, especially the Rocky movies … has three brothers and a sister … calls starting his first college game (vs. Northwestern in 2003) his favorite college memory.
* Pauline on Green -- "He is a late round guy. He is a three-technique lineman. He is probably best suited to be in a rotation system. I think he has a chance to fill a role for a few years as a backup player. I worry about his height and just being engulfed by bigger linemen."
* Helwagen on Green -- "Marcus Green is a plugger. As noted, he changed his body to become a play maker the last couple of years at OSU. I think he has a chance to be drafted in the later rounds and then it will be up to him and what situation he is in as to whether he sticks."
* Biddle on Green -- "I think Green goes undrafted. Green will be getting calls from several teams as soon as the draft ends. He will be in camp with someone this summer."
Tyler Everett, DB
* Height, Weight -- 5-11, 202 pounds; Hometown -- Canton, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights -- Four-year letter winner for the Buckeyes … played safety the first three years before moving to cornerback in 2005 … played in 48 games during his career and had 16 starts … started seven games in 2004, splitting time with Donte Whitner at strong safety … was the nickel back when he did not start in ‘04 … moved to cornerback in the fall of 2005 and started the first six games before sustaining a shoulder injury against Michigan State and missing the next two weeks … returned to action briefly against Northwestern in the home finale, but did not start, and then returned to the lineup the following week at Michigan and had six tackles as a starter … finished the 2005 season with 33 tackles and was credited with two passes broken up … top games in 2005 were six tackles against Texas and Michigan … career high in tackles is eight – against Michigan in 2004 … the OSU coaching staff had planned to move him to corner in the spring of 2005, but he sat out spring ball while recovering from postseason knee surgery … 39 tackles in 2004 is his top effort … had 102 career tackles … played behind All-American Mike Doss as a freshman … picked off his first career interception against Washington State's Jason Gesser … had five tackles and a 66-yard interception return against Michigan State as a sophomore in 2003 … had a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown against Penn State in 2004.
* Personal -- Hobbies include fishing and shopping … enjoys spending time with his family after games … has a younger brother (Brice) and sister (Aria) … his favorite football memories are helping lead McKinley to a win over Warren Harding as a high school junior and the 2002 national championship by the Buckeyes.
* Pauline on Everett -- "Everett is probably a practice squad player. It is a deep draft for secondary players, so some of them like him may get squeezed out."
* Helwagen on Everett -- "Everett had some injury problems during his OSU stay. But he did a fine job at corner this past year as a senior. That allowed him to show NFL teams he can hang as a safety, nickel back and corner. I think that versatility is worth something. If the pro people study Everett's tape, they'll see he has good ball skills. I think he will get drafted sometime later on day two."
* Biddle on Everett -- "I have Everett down as a sixth-round pick. I can't figure out why Everett isn't getting more attention. He was excellent at times during the 2005 season for OSU. Yes, he missed four games due to injury, but I think a lot of people are missing the boat with Everett.
"He is projected as an undrafted free agent by most analysts. But I think there is one team out there that has done their homework and will snag him in the late sixth round. He can play corner (which is where he played as a senior) or safety, but his home in the NFL will likely be at safety and on special teams."
Ryan Hamby, TE
* Height, Weight -- 6-5, 255 pounds; Hometown -- Cincinnati.
* OSU Highlights -- Four-year letterman for Ohio State … played in 47 games and had 29 starts during his career … had at least five starts in each of the four years, including seven in 2005 … started nine of the 12 games in 2004 … missed the final four regular-season games of the 2005 campaign with a knee injury but was able to play in the bowl game … wound up the year with nine catches and an average of 9.4 yards per grab … averaged 10.7 yards per catch for his career … 45 career receptions include five career touchdown catches (none in 2005)… had three touchdown receptions in 2003 (North Carolina State in OT, Northwestern and Michigan State) when he had a career high 18 catches … longest catch of 2005 was 27 yards against Indiana … longest career reception was 31 yards against San Diego State in 2003 … had four receptions for 75 yards against Cincinnati in 2004, both of which represent career-highs … also had four receptions against Iowa later in the 2004 season to equal his career high for receptions … scored his first collegiate touchdown against Kent State as a freshman, hauling in a pass from backup quarterback Scott McMullen.
* Personal -- His father was a walk-on football player at Notre Dame … has an older brother, Matt, who is an artist and a younger sister, Alley, who is 13.
* Pauline on Hamby -- "Hamby is an adequate football player, but he just didn't stand out to me. He is probably a free agent."
* Helwagen on Hamby -- "Hamby had a rough senior year with his well documented foibles against Texas and Penn State as well as his late-season injury. But he is a bright kid and a pretty good athlete. He may not get drafted, but should sign a free agent deal and will be in camp somewhere."
* Biddle on Hamby -- "I have Hamby as an undrafted free agent. Hamby should get a few calls after the draft and will likely be invited to camp with someone."
Josh Huston, PK
* Height, Weight -- 6-1, 195 pounds; Hometown -- Findlay, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights -- Probably the biggest surprise of the season for OSU … enjoyed a spectacular senior year in which he led the Buckeyes in scoring and was a semi-finalist for the Lou Groza Award as the best placekicker in college football … finished the season with 110 points, converting 22 of 28 field goals (two were blocked in the Fiesta Bowl) and making 44 of 45 extra points (lone miss was wide left at Michigan) … was named to a first-team berth on both the coaches' and the media All-Big Ten teams … handled all the placekicking responsibilities – field goals, PATs and kickoffs … led the Big Ten in field goals made … understudied All-American Mike Nugent the past four years, but was certainly ready when his time came … tied a school record against Texas with five made field goals (45, 36, 25, 44 and 26 yards) and set a school mark with six attempts in the game (just missed from 50) … … made his first seven FG attempts on the year and was 11 of 12 after three games … was simply amazing on kickoffs, recording 54 touchbacks on 77 kicks … had a string of 18 consecutive touchbacks during a three-game span (Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois) to set a school record … opponents averaged 19.4 yards per kick return against OSU in 2005 … longest field goal on the year was 47 yards at Michigan where he put the Buckeyes on the board for the first time that day … has a strong accurate leg and is a tremendous kicker in the clutch … his 22 field goals in 2005 are the third most in Ohio State history behind Nugent's 25 in 2002 and 24 in 2004 … his 28 attempts are the second most in school annals behind Tim Williams' 29 in 1992 … his 110 points last year represent the second highest total by a kicker at OSU (Nugent had 120 in 2002) and the eighth highest total in OSU history … redshirted as a true freshman in 2000 after suffering a knee injury … split time with Nugent early in 2001, but then settled into a back-up role … did hit a pair of field goals against Indiana … injured his hip in 2002 and did not see any game action … no game action in 2003 and only two appearances in 2004 (kickoffs against Cincinnati in the opener and Oklahoma State in the bowl game) … received a sixth season of eligibility from the NCAA following the 2004 season.
* Personal -- Was a high school teammate of Ben Roethlisberger at Findlay, where the latter was his holder on placements … likes to relax by playing the acoustic guitar (which he taught himself to play).
* Pauline on Huston -- "He is a long-term developmental guy. If he gets drafted, it will be very late. He is supposed to have a strong leg, but he didn't make anything longer than 47 yards, so he may have some accuracy issues. He has the physical tools. He just needs time and repetition. He has a stronger leg than Mike Nugent and is a better kickoff guy than Nugent. He is probably a practice squad player somewhere next year."
* Helwagen on Huston -- "Maybe there is a team that sees Huston as a kickoff specialist, although some of his advantages there are negated as NFL teams kick off from the 30 and the use a shorter tee. The very idea that an NFL team would look at Huston seemed so foreign a year or two ago that it is still hard to believe.
"But he did have a great senior year for the Buckeyes and, for a team that maybe has an older kicker, Huston would be an option to sit on the sideline for a year on the practice squad and work toward the job in 2007. I can't see anybody drafting him before the late sixth round, if at all."
* Biddle on Huston -- "I see somebody drafting Huston in the seventh round. Huston is ranked as the No. 1 kicker on the board by some services. However, it is a relatively weak year for kickers and I don't think a team will use an early second day pick on Huston. He could go in the sixth round, but I'll say seventh. He has a booming leg, but his lack of field goal experience could hurt his draft stock."
* Height, Weight -- 6-3, 235; Hometown -- Sandusky, Ohio.
* OSU Highlights -- Four-year letter winner for the Buckeyes … played in 39 games during his career and had four starts … played fullback his first three years, but moved to tailback as a senior in 2005 to give the Buckeyes a power back … played in the first seven games of 2005 before suffering a back injury that held him out of the final four games of the regular season … did play in the Fiesta Bowl in his final college game … versatile back who can block and catch … longest carry of his career is seven yards at Penn State in 2005 … also had a personal best at Penn State in rushing yards (13) and tied his high in rushing attempts (4) … played in all 14 games as a true freshman in 2002 … made his first collegiate start against Penn State in 2002 … clutch 15-yard grab against Michigan was his first reception and could not have come at a better time (it kept OSU's winning scoring drive alive) … played in the first eight games in 2003 before pulling a hamstring and missing the final five games … played in nine games in 2004, splitting time with Branden Joe at fullback … no carries in 2004, but two receptions (one each against Northwestern and Oklahoma State) … 23 career carries, with 18 of those this year, netted 60 career yards (47 in 2005) … two career touchdowns, both this year (Miami of Ohio and San Diego State).
* Personal -- Is the third member of his family to play at Ohio State, joining cousins Max (1943-46) and Dick Schnittker (1947-50) … Dick was a basketball All-American for the Buckeyes and was a teammate of former OSU basketball coach Fred Taylor.
* Helwagen on Schnittker -- "I like Brandon Schnittker as an NFL H-back type. The stint at tailback last year can only help him, although injuries prevented him from showing what he can do. He will not be drafted, but can find his way into somebody's camp. I think he can show some value as a practice player. Maybe he develops into a Mike Alstott-type back one day."