Ohio State’s 2016 NFL Draft Class was one for the books. In April, the Buckeyes had 12 players drafted, with another three going undrafted but signing as free agents.
With the first pre-season football games occurring over the weekend, multiple Ohio State draftees shined in their first NFL action.
One standout performance came from Cardale Jones. The 6-foot-5-inch, fourth-round pick took the field for the first time for the Buffalo Bills. Backing up E.J. Manuel and starter Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, Jones went 11-for-21 on completions, totaling 162 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for another 34 yards on four carries.
Second-round pick Michael Thomas also had a big day on offense for the New Orleans Saints. Thomas had four receptions for 67 yards, including two very impressive catches — one diving and another coming along the sideline.
Quarterback-turned-wide-receiver Braxton Miller, taken in the third round, had his own highlight catch against good coverage along the sideline for 24 yards. He would finish his first game with the Houston Texans with four receptions for 34 yards.
Undrafted wide receiver Jalin Marshall also opened some eyes with an 84-yard kick return for the New York Jets.
Highly touted offensive lineman Taylor Decker — a first-round pick — started at left tackle for the Detroit Lions. Decker had his struggles in his debut, getting called for a holding penalty and allowing James Harrison to beat him, forcing a fumble from the quarterback.
Former Buckeyes also showcased their skills on the defensive side of the ball.
Darron Lee played on both defense and special teams for the New York Jets. He contributed four tackles (two for a loss) and one sack. Lee played a total of 51 snaps in the game, 38 on defense and 13 on special teams.
Tyvis Powell, an undrafted safety, recorded an interception and had a good, hard block on a special teams return for the Seattle Seahawks.
While all these former Ohio State players are off to solid starts in the pros, the best may still be yet to come.
The two highest picks in 2016 for the Buckeyes, Joey Bosa (taken third overall by the San Diego Chargers) and Ezekiel Elliott (taken fourth overall by the Dallas Cowboys) have yet to touch the field in the NFL.
Bosa is in the midst of a holdout with the Chargers as both sides have not been able to come to a contract agreement. He has not been with the team in training camp or in their first game against the Tennessee Titans.
Ezekiel Elliott, perhaps the most highly anticipated rookie in the class, is dealing with a hamstring issue and did not play in the Cowboys’ first preseason game against the Los Angeles Rams. Dallas is hoping the running back can make his debut in their next preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.