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Ohio State’s Draft Class Is The Most Impressive In Modern NFL History

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.

YEAR SCHOOL PICKS
1984 Texas 17
1946 Notre Dame 16
1953 USC 15
1945 Notre Dame 15
1975 USC 14
2004 Ohio State 14
1977 USC 13
1987 Penn State 13
1988 Oklahoma 13
1971 Ohio State 13
1975 Ohio State 13
1944 Notre Dame 13
1950 Minnesota 13
1944 USC 12
1974 UCLA 12
1982 Texas 12
1944 Texas 12
1981 Pittsburgh 12
2016 Ohio State 12
1954 Notre Dame 12
1950 Notre Dame 12
1975 Nebraska 12
1988 Miami (FL) 12
1952 Maryland 12
1976 Colorado 12
Schools with more than a dozen players chosen in one year

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

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
DE Joey Bosa 3 27.6
RB Ezekiel Elliott 4 25.8
CB Eli Apple 10 19.9
OT Taylor Decker 16 16.9
OLB Darron Lee 20 15.5
WR Michael Thomas 47 10.1
FS Vonn Bell 61 8.4
DT Adolphus Washington 80 6.7
WR Braxton Miller 85 6.3
TE Nick Vannett 94 5.7
ILB Joshua Perry 102 5.1
QB Cardale Jones 139 3.2
Total 151.2
The 2016 Ohio State draft class is amazing

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

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
1946 Notre Dame 16 170.4
2016 Ohio State 12 151.2
1955 Notre Dame 9 128.8
1945 Notre Dame 15 126.2
1968 USC 11 122.2
1954 Notre Dame 12 121.7
2004 MiamI (FL) 9 114.8
1993 Notre Dame 9 114.0
1977 USC 13 113.9
1967 Michigan State 8 113.7
2010 Oklahoma 7 112.9
2006 Ohio State 9 111.5
1987 Miami (FL) 7 108.1
2008 USC 10 107.1
1981 Pittsburgh 12 106.2
1948 Alabama 6 103.8
2002 Miami (FL) 11 103.3
1947 UCLA 9 103.1
2006 USC 11 102.8
2000 Tennessee 9 102.6
2015 Florida State 11 101.7
1942 Texas 10 100.6
1940 USC 9 100.3
1939 TCU 6 100.1
2012 Alabama 8 98.7

Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

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.

Chase Stuart writes about football statistics and history at FootballPerspective.com

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