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Opinion: How former Buckeyes are exceeding in the NFL

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Dallas Cowboys rookie and former OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) leads the NFL in rushing yards with 799. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Dallas Cowboys rookie and former OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) leads the NFL in rushing yards with 799. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

It’s halfway through the NFL season, but former Ohio State Buckeyes have already asserted their NFL dominance. With half of the season still remaining, here are a few former Buckeyes who have been top performers around the league.

Ezekiel Elliott has been as good a running back as anyone else in the NFL. As a rookie, Elliott is leading the league in rushing yards as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. He has already reached 799 yards through seven games, and he still leads the league after he’s had a bye week. Playing behind the best offensive line in football, Elliot is on record pace. Many people believe he has a chance to break Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,000-plus yards by a rookie, which would be an incredible feat.

Malcolm Jenkins is poised for back-to-back pro bowl seasons, leading the new-look Eagles defense that has been performing at one of the highest levels in the NFL. Jenkins has been making key plays for Philadelphia all year thus far with a 66-yard pick six against Washington and a huge fumble recovery for a touchdown in a winning effort against Minnesota. Jenkins, a former cornerback, has made the switch to free safety and has been playing all over the field for the Eagles. He is a jack of all trades when they need him to be.

A bright spot on a not-so-bright team is Carlos Hyde with the 49ers. He has racked up six touchdowns this year while carrying much of the load for the San Francisco offense. Hyde is one of the few backs in the league with multiple games of two touchdowns or more. As of now, he is on pace for a 1,100-yard season along with 16 touchdowns. Needless to say, his Pro Bowl level of play is something San Francisco fans can look forward to.

An overlooked performer is Terrelle Pryor with the Cleveland Browns. It’s easy not to pay attention when his team hasn’t won once in eight weeks, but he really is talented. He is on pace for a more than 1,000 receiving yards this season, which is not bad for a former quarterback making the switch to receiver. With a key touchdown over Josh Norman, one of the league’s premier corners, Pryor showed his ability to perform against good competition. In an outing against the Tennessee Titans, he had 75 yards receiving to pair with two touchdowns. A possible Pro Bowl selection, Pryor is making sure his name is heard throughout the league.

Arguably the most impactful player for their respective team is Joey Bosa of the San Diego Chargers. He has been an absolute monster this year and has played only three games. Through three games, he has four sacks, 11 tackles and a safety. For a rookie to dominate at the line of scrimmage this early in his career is an exciting sign for Chargers fans. As of now, he is on pace for 16 sacks in 12 games. As the third overall pick in this year’s draft, Bosa has lived up to every ounce of the hype to this point and Chargers fans can finally rejoice after his contract holdout.

The Buckeyes’ early success in the NFL is a true testament to Urban Meyer’s ability to develop his players. After their record year of 14 NFL draft picks, former Buckeyes have not let their foot off the gas. With many exciting Buckeyes around the league, the future looks very promising.

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