OSU Should Return To Draft's First Round

Ohio State hasn't had a whole lot of success in the NFL draft in recent years, but that looks as though that is about to change in the upcoming draft. Scout's Jamie Newberg has four Buckeyes in his top 100, including projected first-round pick Ryan Shazier

The tap of Ohio State players to move on to the pros as first-round draft picks has dried up a bit in recent years, but that seems as though it is going to change in 2014.

In draft rankings released today by Scout's Jamie Newberg, Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier is listed as the No. 22 prospect in the upcoming NFL draft, leading the way for four Buckeye players in the top 75.

Shazier, who was a first-team All-Big Ten choice on the way to a league-high 143 tackles, finished just shy of a school record with 22.5 tackles for loss while adding six sacks and four forced fumbles.

LINK: Shazier a hometown hero at Orange Bowl
LINK: NFL scout breaks down Shazier's game

He would be just the second Buckeye in the past five drafts to be taken in the first round, following Cameron Heyward, who was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the '11 draft. Before that, 13 Buckeyes were taken in the first round of the selection shows from 2004-09.

The Buckeyes could have multiple first-round picks, actually, as Newberg has cornerback Bradley Roby just outside of the top 32 at No. 36. An early entrant like Shazier, Roby was a first-team All-Big Ten choice who made 69 tackles and three interceptions while blocking two kicks in 2013, one year after leading the nation in passes defended per game.

LINK: NFL scout doesn't see slip in Roby's stock

The Big Ten Running Back of the Year, Carlos Hyde, checks in at No. 56 in Newberg's ratings, though some have the Florida native as a first-round talent. The burly back ran for at least 100 yards in each of the last nine games and became the first running back under Urban Meyer to top 1,000 yards in a season, piling up 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns despite missing three games because of suspension. He also caught three touchdown passes.

Next on Newberg's list is Jack Mewhort, a co-captain in 2013 who emerged as one of the team's most important leaders. Newberg slots Mewhort, a two-year starter at left tackle for the Buckeyes, as the No. 72 prospect in the draft.

Overall, Shazier is listed as the No. 3 outside linebacker available, while Roby is the third-ranked corner, Hyde is the No. 5 running back and Mewhort is the eighth-ranked offensive tackle.

Senior safety C.J. Barnett, who was second on the OSU squad with 84 tackles and picked off a team-best four passes, is also listed as a two-star safety prospect.

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