All-Buckeye NFL Team

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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 01/09/2012 3:32 PM

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All-Buckeye NFL Team
By Scott Dame

Early in the season it became clear that the players featured in Buckeyes in the NFL could be assembled into a complete NFL team. In fact, it wouldn’t be much trouble to throw together an entire 53-man roster given all of the successful current pros who played at Ohio State.

Below the depth chart you will find an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the hypothetical team.

Note that we used eight players who are not currently on an NFL roster or practice squad to fill out the 53-man roster, but all of the starters are current NFL players.

One question this project raises is how would this team stack up against teams assembled from other schools?

To get an idea of the answer, here are number of players some schools have on NFL rosters, according to

Alabama 25
Florida 38
Florida State 29
Georgia 42
LSU 46
Michigan 29
Nebraska 35
Notre Dame 29
Oklahoma 30
Penn State 31
Tennessee 37
Texas 50
USC 53

Maybe fans of some of these teams can try to assemble their own school’s all-NFL team, or maybe somebody has a lot of time on their hands and is interested in that sort of thing. Maybe they even want to enter all of the rosters into Madden ’12 and simulate a tournament. But I don’t have the time for a project of that magnitude. Feel free to contact me at if you’re interested.


Base offense (1 RB, 3 WR)

QB – Terrelle Pryor, Troy Smith**
RB – Beanie Wells, Brandon Saine, Maurice Clarett**
TE – Jake Ballard, Ben Hartsock, Roy Hall**
WR – Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr., Brian Robiskie
WR – Michael Jenkins, Brian Hartline, Roy Hall**
WR (slot) – Dane Sanzenbacher, Anthony Gonzalez
LT – Alex Boone, Jim Cordle
LG – Rob Sims, Adrian Clarke**
C – Nick Mangold (A,P), Jim Cordle
RG – Justin Boren, Bryant Browning
RT – Jim Cordle, Shane Olivea**

Base Defense (3-4)

NT – Ryan Pickett, Doug Worthington, Dexter Larimore***
DE – Will Smith, Thaddeus Gibson
DE – Cameron Heyward, Darrion Scott
OLB – Na’il Diggs, Bobby Carpenter
ILB – A.J. Hawk, Austin Spitler
ILB – James Laurinaitis, Larry Grant
OLB – Brian Rolle, Ross Homan***
CB – Nate Clements, Chimdi Chekwa, Ashton Youboty
CB – Antoine Winfield, Chris Gamble, Ashton Youboty
SS – Donte Whitner, Donald Washington, Jermale Hines
FS – Malcolm Jenkins, Kurt Coleman (nickle), Will Allen, Anderson Russell*


LS – Jake McQuaide
KR – Ted Ginn Jr., Brandon Saine
PR – Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes
K – Mike Nugent
P – Andy Groom***


A - All-Pro selection (second-team)
P- Pro Bowl selection
*Practice squad player
**UFL player
***Out of league   

  1. Secondary. Stalwart veterans Nate Clements and Antoine Winfield start at the corners. Both still have good speed, are able to play man or zone coverage and are excellent tacklers. Tackling machine Donte Whitner is an enforcer at strong safety and former corner Malcolm Jenkins gives the team great coverage flexibility at free safety. Kurt Coleman would start at the nickel and push both safeties for their starting sports. In fact, this team’s best alignment would probably be the nickel with linebacker Na’il Diggs coming off the field, Coleman playing a hybrid position similar to Ohio State’s Star, and Whitner moving into the box to stuff the run. The depth of this unit would be a strength as well, with starting-caliber players like corner Chris Gamble and safety Donald Washington (another former corner) coming off the bench. This secondary would be as good as or better than any in the NFL.
  2. Linebacker. James Laurinaitis and A.J. Hawk combined for 226 tackles and start at the inside linebacker spots in the 3-4, daring the opposition to run the ball. Rookie Brian Rolle adds even more toughness and a nice dose of speed at the outside. Versatile veteran Diggs would be the fourth starter and would be pressed for playing time by Bobby Carpenter and Larry Grant. Again, this unit would be one of the premier groups in the NFL
  3. Wide receiver depth. Ohio State had seven wideouts on NFL rosters last season, the most of any college. Six of them started at least one game. Santonio Holmes would be the No. 1 threat, while Michael Jenkins makes a solid possession receiver and starts on the opposite side. Dependable rookie Dane Sanzenbacher would see plenty of playing time in the slot, while Brian Hartline and Ted Ginn Jr. rotate in frequently and challenge Jenkins and Sanzenbacher for their starting spots. Anthony Gonzalez and Brian Robiskie provide insurance against injuries. Tight end Jake Ballard surprised everyone this season in claiming the starting spot with the Giants and surpassing 600 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He starts on the All-Buckeye team as well, and provides excellent blocking and a very good receiving threat. Second-string TE Ben Hartsock comes in on short-yardage and goal-line sets and can play some H-back and fullback when necessary. Roy Hall joins the team from the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL as the third tight end.


  1. Quarterback. Officially, Terrelle Pryor has never taken a snap in the NFL. He did come in on a QB sneak once, but the play was flagged and did not count. So obviously, inexperience at the most important position in football would be a concern for this team. But there would be plenty of experience and talent around Pryor. Further, Pryor’s skill set and body type resemble those of Cam Newton, who exploded upon the NFL scene with 4,051 passing yards, 21 passing TDs, 706 rushing yards and 14 rushing TDs in his rookie season. If Pryor could produce 70 percent of those stats, this team could be successful. Another Omaha Nighthawk, Troy Smith, would back up Pryor.
  2. Offensive line. Left guard Rob Sims and center Nick Mangold are the only former Buckeyes who start on an offensive line in the NFL. Alex Boo
    ne and Jim Cordle are backups who mostly play in short-yardage and goal-line situations and on special teams, but they would start at the tackle spots. Justin Boren, who spent the regular season on the Ravens’ practice squad before being activated last week, would start at right guard. Bryant Browning and UFL players Adrian Clarke and Shane Olivea would provide depth.
  3. Depth at nose guard. Listed at 6-2 and 340 pounds, Ryan Pickett has the size and strength to play the nose, but no other defender on this team would be an effective backup. Dexter Larimore (6-3, 319 pounds) was cut by the Saints but he would make this team as a space-eater. The other starting spots on the defensive line would be capably manned by Cameron Heyward and Will Smith. Darrion Scott, Thaddeus Gibson and Doug Worthington would rotate in. The main focus of this group would be to keep offensive lineman away from the linebackers, and they would be up to the task as long as Pickett stays healthy.

Notes: Buckeyes who will enter the 2012 NFL Draft who would make this team would be OT Mike Adams, C Mike Brewster, RB Boom Herron and WR DeVier Posey. Adams would start at left tackle, moving Boone to right tackle. Brewster, Herron and Posey would be backups.

Click here for a complete list of all former Buckeyes who play in the NFL and their 2011-2012 stats.

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