Coach Urban Meyer came to Columbus in 2012, and the Ohio State football team has been outstanding from the moment he arrived. In his first season, the Buckeyes went 12-0, although the team was ineligible for a bowl game or postseason play. In 2013, the team began 12-0 again before being upset by Michigan State in the Big 10 championship game. Two seasons ago, Ohio State won the national championship, going 12-1 in the regular season and defeating Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon in the postseason behind third-string quarterback Cardale Jones. And last season, Ohio State’s only loss came as time expired against Michigan State in late November.
Given all that, it wasn’t a surprise that Ohio State produced a top-notch draft class in 2016. What is surprising is that it’s the most impressive draft class in modern history. At the most basic level, there were just a lot of Buckeyes taken in the draft. Twelve Ohio State players were selected during the 2016 NFL draft, the 25th time a school has had such a distinction. And, in fact, it’s the fourth time Ohio State has sent at least a dozen players to the pros via the NFL draft:
But although Ohio State was not exactly hurting in the quantity department, the quality of those picks sets the team apart. Consider, for example, that although the Texas Longhorns had 17 players drafted in 1984, eight of those players were selected with the 180th pick or later; conversely, all 12 Ohio State players were selected in the first four rounds, with Jones being the last pick at number 139. Using the draft value chart, which assigns the average marginal approximate value produced by each draft pick, we can give more weight to the best picks to provide a more accurate measure of class strength. Here is how many points of draft value were used on each Ohio State player in the 2016 draft:
|POSITION||PLAYER||OVERALL SELECTION||DRAFT VALUE|
Incredibly, Ohio State had five players drafted in the top 20 and another five in the top 100. As a result, a total of 151.2 points of draft value was used on Buckeyes players. That’s the most — by a very large margin — in 70 years. The table below shows the top 25 draft classes as measured by points of draft value used to select players:
|YEAR||TEAM||NUMBER OF PICKS||DRAFT VALUE|
Using this methodology, the best draft class between the 1970 merger and this year came out of Miami in 2004. And yet this class beat that mark by 31.7 percent! That Hurricanes draft was great, with Sean Taylor (fifth overall), Kellen Winslow Jr. (sixth), Jonathan Vilma (12th), D.J. Williams (17th), Vernon Carey (19th) and Vince Wilfork (21st) all selected in the first round. But after those six players, Miami didn’t have another player drafted until the seventh round. By contrast, the Buckeyes had five first-round picks, two more in the second round, three in the third and two more in the fourth. As a result, it stands out as the most impressive draft class in modern history.