Which Ohio State players turned out to be the best NFL draft picks? Who are the ten greatest selections in the school’s history?
Who are the ten best NFL draft picks of all-time to come from THE Ohio State University?
It’s not just about who the best pro prospects were, or even who had the best NFL careers. It’s about which former Buckeyes were the best draft picks for the teams that drafted them – or in some rare cases, were the top undrafted free agent gets.
It doesn’t really help an NFL team to take a player and then see him rock – or spend a key part of his career – doing big things for someone else – Cris Carter being OSU’s prime example, crushing it for Minnesota, not Philadelphia.
Dick LeBeau is in the Hall of Fame as a Detroit Lion – but he was cut in camp after being drafted by Cleveland. That’s a bad draft pick.
The offensive linemen were the stars over the years when it came to turning into tremendous pro players. The running backs were strong, and the linebackers were relatively solid. The problem? The defensive backs were stunningly okay, the defensive linemen were puzzlingly awful, and the quarterbacks? None of them were within 78 miles of making the top ten cut.
Compared to most schools, though, OSU has its share of Hall of Famers who were no-brainers, and a few who deserve to have a bust in Canton, but don’t.
In terms of longevity, value, and what they did for the teams that drafted them, the ten greatest Ohio State Buckeye NFL draft picks – at least so far – were …
10. OT Bob Vogel, Baltimore
1963, 1st round, 5th pick overall
Pick Before: G Ed Budde, Michigan State by Philadelphia
Pick After: GLB Lee Roy Jordan, Alabama by Dallas
The 6-5, 250-pound offensive tackle didn’t get into the Hall of Fame, but he was really close after a fantastic career as a star blocker for Mr. Unitas. The blindside protector was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the 1969 All-Pro team. However, how strong is Ohio State at cranking out pro linemen? Vogel doesn’t make the All-Ohio State Draft Team.
9. WR Dante Lavelli, Cleveland
1946, 12th round, 103rd pick overall
Pick Before: C Jerry D’Arcy, Tulsa by Philadelphia
Pick After: LB Hardy Brown, Tulsa by New York Giants
Cleveland did just fine getting a Hall of Famer in the tenth round. For his time, he was a dangerous deep threat catching 386 passes for 6,488 yards and 62 touchdowns averaging close to 17 yards per grab during the fun era of Cleveland football. A key part of seven championship teams in his 11 year career, he went to three Pro Bowls.
8. C Nick Mangold, New York Jets
2006, 1st round, 29th pick overall
Pick Before: TE Marcedes Lewis, UCLA by Jacksonville
Pick After: RB Joseph Addai, LSU by Indianapolis
Yawwwwwwwn. It’s boring taking a center in the first round. However, Mangold turned out to be one of the best players in the 2006 draft, becoming the anchor of the line over his first ten years. A rock of a starter for 11 years, he went to seven Pro Bowls and was a two-time All-Pro – all for the Jets.
7. WR Paul Warfield, Cleveland
1964, 1st round, 11th pick overall
Pick Before: QB Paul Martha, Pitt by Pittsburgh
Pick After: HB Joe Don Looney, Oklahoma by New York Giants
Warfield would be much, much higher, but he went from being a great draft pick by Cleveland to a Hall of Fame talent with Miami. He earned two All-Pro nods as a Dolphin on a few historic teams, but he was hardly mediocre for the Browns going to three Pro Bowls and catching 271 passes averaging 19.2 yards per grab with 52 touchdowns in his eight-year Cleveland career.
6. OT Jim Tyrer, Dallas Texans*
1961, 3rd round, 22nd pick overall
Pick Before: T Tom Gilburg, Syracuse by Buffalo
Pick After: LB Marlin McKeever, USC by San Diego
The Dallas Texans turned into the Kansas City Chiefs, which is why Tyrer will always be known as one of the greatest blockers in KC history, despite being drafted by Dallas. It took a year to become a regular starter, and then he became Hall of Fame dominant – even though he’s not in yet. A 13-year star for the franchise, he was a key part of the historic Super Bowl IV champion earned All-Pro honors for six straight seasons and going to nine Pro Bowls.