January 4, 2017

Buckeye NFL Rookies Make Immediate Impact in 2016


Jan. 4, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State led all FBS schools with 12 selections in the 2016 NFL Draft last April and those rookies wasted little time showing they belonged in the National Football League. The Buckeyes had five selected in the first round last spring, tied the NFL record with seven taken in the first two rounds and set a record with 10 picks in the first three. The 12 total were the most in the first four rounds since 1967.

Easily topping the list of performers this season was Ezekiel Elliott, the No. 4 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys. “Zeke” led the league in rushing with 1,631 yards, 177 yards short of Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record and became the fifth rookie to lead the league in rushing since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Elliott, however, played one fewer game than Dickerson, as Zeke sat out week 17 with the Cowboys already having clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Elliott’s 15 rushing TDs ranked third in the NFL while leading the league with 14 rushes of 20 or more yards. His best game of the year came in week 10 at Pittsburgh when he totaled 209 yards with 114 yards and two TDs on the ground while also catching two passes for 95 yards and a score as the Cowboys defeated the Steelers, 35-30.

Michael Thomas, a second-round pick (No. 47 overall) by the New Orleans Saints, led all rookies in receptions (92), receiving yards (1,137) and TDs (9) in 2016 while his 92 receptions were the second most in NFL history to Anquan Boldin’s 101 catches as a rookie in 2003. Thomas quickly became one of All-Pro Drew Brees’ favorite targets as the QB put up the most passing yards (5,208) in the league 2016. Thomas led the Saints in receptions and TD grabs while averaging 12.4 yards per catch. Thomas started 12 of 15 games and saved his best performance for last, hauling in 10 passes for 156 yards and a TD in the week 17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Joey Bosa, the No. 3 overall pick by the San Diego Chargers, played in only 12 games in 2016. Despite missing four games, he still led all rookies and tied for 13th in the league with 10.5 sacks and averaged the third-most sacks per game in the league. He had multiple sacks in three games with 2.0 in his NFL debut in week 5 vs. Oakland, week 7 at Atlanta and week 16 at Cleveland. And according to Pro Football Focus, Bosa had the most QB pressures (60) of any player through their first 12 games in 11 years.

Those three individuals are just a sample of Buckeye rookies making their mark in the NFL in 2016. Here’s a breakdown of the rest:

Ohio State’s 2016 NFL Draft Selections
First Round
No. 3 — DE Joey Bosa, San Diego Chargers
No. 4 — RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
No. 10 — CB Eli Apple, New York Giants
• Played in 14 games with 11 starts, 51 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FF, made playoffs
No. 16 — OT Taylor Decker, Detroit Lions
• Started all 16 games at left tackle for the Detroit, helping the Lions secure a playoff berth
No. 20 — LB Darron Lee, New York Jets
• Played in 13 games with 9 starts, 73 tackles, 1 sack

Second Round
No. 47 — WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
No. 61 — SAF Vonn Bell, New Orleans Saints
• Played in all 16 games with 14 starts, 87 tackles, 2 FF, 1 sack

Third Round
No. 80 — DT Adolphus Washington, Buffalo Bills
• Played in 15 games with 11 starts, 21 tackles, 2.5 sacks
No. 85 — WR Braxton Miller, Houston Texans
• Played in 10 games with six starts, 15 receptions for 99 yards, 1 TD, made playoffs
No. 94 — TE Nick Vannett, Seattle Seahawks
• Played in 9 games with 2 starts, 3 catches for 32 yards, made playoffs

Fourth Round
No. 102 — LB Joshua Perry, San Diego Chargers
• Played in 15 games with 1 start, 22 tackles, 1 FF
No. 139 — QB Cardale Jones, Buffalo Bills
• Played in 1 game, completing 6 of 11 passes for 96 yards

Free Agent Signing
Jalin Marshall – WR, New York Jets
• Played in 10 games with 1 start, 14 receptions for 162 yards, 2 TDs
Tyvis Powell – SAF, Seattle Seahawks
• Played in 8 games, 3 tackles, made playoffs

2016 Buckeyes in the NFL
Buffalo Bills
QB Jones, Cardale
DL Washington, Adolphus

New England Patriots
DB Ebner, Nate

New York Jets
LB Lee, Darron
C Mangold, Nick
WR Marshall, Jalin

Cincinnati Bengals
K Nugent, Mike

Cleveland Browns
WR Pryor, Terrelle

Pittsburgh Steelers
DE Heyward, Cameron
LB Shazier, Ryan

Houston Texans
WR Miller, Braxton
LB Simon, John

Indianapolis Colts
OL Mewhort, Jack

Jacksonville Jaguars
DT Bennett, Michael

Denver Broncos
TE Heuerman, Jeff
CB Roby, Bradley

San Diego Chargers
DE Bosa, Joey
LB Perry, Joshua

Dallas Cowboys
RB Elliott, Ezekiel
OT Baldwin, Darryl
RB Smith, Rod

New York Giants
CB Apple, Eli
DT Hankins, Johnathan

Philadelphia Eagles
CB Jenkins, Malcolm

Washington Redskins
S Whitner, Donte

Atlanta Falcons
LB Hawk, A.J.

Chicago Bears
OT Adams, Mike

Detroit Lions
OT Decker, Taylor

Green Bay Packers
C Linsley, Corey

Minnesota Vikings
OL Boone, Alex

Carolina Panthers
WR Brown, Philly
S Coleman, Kurt
WR Ginn, Jr., Ted
OL Norwell, Andrew

New Orleans Saints
WR Thomas, Michael
S Bell, Vonn
LB Laurinaitis, James
TE, Stoneburner, Jake

Los Angeles Rams
LS McQuaide, Jake

San Francisco 49ers
RB Hyde, Carlos

Seattle Seahawks
S Powell, Tyvis
TE Vannett, Nick