Watercooler: NFL Porential

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Last updated: 03/02/2012 5:50 AM
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Around the-Ozone Water Cooler — Which Departed Senior From the 2011 Buckeye Football Team Will Have the Best NFL Career?
By the-Ozone Staff

Since most of our football focus around here has been on the 2012 Buckeyes, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the 2011 Buckeyes who are in the process of moving on to the next level.

Water coolers around the nation are heating up with NFL Draft talk, and ours is no different. We go back and forth. Should the Browns trade up for RGIII? Only if they want to ruin his career, of course. Should the Bengals take Trent Richardson in the first round? Cincinnati's only 0-4 in their history in taking running backs in the first round. The fifth time's the charm, right?

But we can only talk about Ohio's "professional" teams for so long before talk turns back to the Buckeyes. Ohio State has put more players into the NFL than most other schools, so when we ask which Buckeye in this draft class will have the best NFL career, there are actually several legitimate candidates.

That doesn't mean that it's a particularly strong class, however, just a balanced one. So without further adieu, let's go around the cooler and talk this one out.

Brandon Castel — The obvious choice here would seem to be Mike Adams. He has everything it takes to succeed in the NFL from a physical standpoint, and he was a solid left tackle for the Buckeyes the past two seasons. At 6-7, 323 pounds, Adams is physically imposing and yet athletic enough to play on the edge in the NFL. Like I said, he would appear to be the obvious choice, but I’m not as convinced he has all the intangibles to be great at the next level.
That’s why I’m going with DeVier Posey. I know Posey is not a fan favorite in Columbus these days after missing 10 games to suspension during the 2011 season, but I think Posey will learn from his mistakes at Ohio State and channel them to make him a better player, and hopefully a better person.
The one issue with DeVier has always been his hands. He has good size, checking in at a legit 6-2 a the NFL combine, and his he has good enough speed to be a starting receiver in the NFL. Posey ran a 4.5 flat at the combine and he should run better at Ohio State’s pro day on March 9, which would only help to boost his stock for the NFL Draft in April.
I still don’t see Posey going higher than the third round, and expect him to probably still be available in the fourth or even fifth round, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a good player at the next level. A lot is going to depend on where Posey ends up, but he has hopefully learned not to take anything for granted.
Posey showed that he is an excellent route runner late in the season, not just for the college level, but his route-running ability should allow him to get open at the next level. He is also a willing blocker, which should earn him some favor with the coaches.
Ultimately it will come down to whether he can hang on to the ball. That was an issue he had at Ohio State and in the Senior Bowl. I don’t know if it’s concentration or what, but if he can make some big catches at the next level, I see Posey as a starting receiver for someone at some point in the future.

Ben Axelrod — If you were going to tell me on 2008’s signing day that I would have a tough time projecting which new Buckeye signee was going to have the best NFL career, I would have thought it would be because limiting my choice to just one would be too difficult. But truthfully, the majority of Ohio State players entering this year’s draft either underperformed or don’t appear to have the skills and/or size that translate to the next level.

With that in mind, I figured the safest player to bet on to succeed in the NFL would be the one Buckeye that’s projected to be selected as a first round pick in April: Mike Adams.

After missing most of his freshman season with an injury and splitting playing time in his sophomore season with Andy Miller, Adams dominated as a junior, earning first team All-Big Ten honors, before missing the first five games of 2011 thanks to his Tatgate suspension.

Of the players who were regular contributors and contributed to Tatgate, Adams bounced back better than anyone. Unlike Terrelle Pryor, he returned for his senior season, and unlike DeVier Posey and Boom Herron, he didn’t accept money from Bobby DiGeronimo, so nothing was added to his initial suspension.

What was left of his senior season wasn’t as impressive as his junior season, although for several reasons, it’s difficult to evaluate any offensive player on the 2011 squad against his performance from the year before.

Predictably, Adams’ draft stock shot up during the week of the Senior Bowl, just as his recruiting stock skyrocketed in the days leading up up the 2008 Army All-American game, when he went from the No. 96 recruit in the country to the No. 3 recruit. Some may view this as Adams simply being a “workout warrior,” but I’d argue that his production over the course of the second half of his OSU career indicates otherwise.

Most recently, Adams stock has slipped because of all things, he could only bench press 225 pounds 19 times at the NFL combine. But as any meathead at the Arnold Classic this weekend will tell you, the bench press is one of the most overrated lifts in terms of testing strength, and it doesn’t change the fact that he measured in at 6-foot-7 and 323 pounds.

Also helping Adams’ cause is his willingness to play the right tackle position, in addition to his natural left tackle spot. It would truthfully surprise me if Adams became an elite left tackle at the next level, but I don’t think that being one of the better right tackles in the NFL is out of the question for the Dublin product, and that may just be enough for him to be the best Buckeye drafted in 2012.

Tony Gerdeman — While I like the potential of guys like Mike Adams and Devier Posey better, and I think Boom Herron has some uncanny ability to find holes inside of holes, my vote goes to Mike Brewster.

Brewster has started 49 of his 51 career games at Ohio State and has been at the point of attack of the Buckeye offense for 98% of the snaps in that time.

He has tremendous football intelligence and has been in the spotlight at Ohio State since before he was a Buckeye. Despite that notoriety, he never found himself in the trouble that the three Buckeyes mentioned above found themselves in.

Mike Adams is a prototype left tackle, but he's had as many downs as ups in his career. Devier Posey has good size and combine numbers for a receiver, and while he was always great to deal with at Ohio State, he could never detach himself from the wrong people. Until that characteristic is long in his past, I can't just expect it to stop now. I love his abilities, but until the stuff above the shoulders catches up to everything below it, I'm staying away.

I like Boom Herron and think he'll steer clear of trouble, but if Beanie Wells still has his issues, and Antonio Pittman is already out of the league, I can't expect Herron to do any better. Of course, I was convinced that both Wells and Pittman would be NFL successes, so clearly I cannot judge NFL running backs. (Don't take this to mean I'm down on Wells, because I'm not.)

Mike Brewster, however, has been consistent throughout his career, and it's that consistency that will also serve him well in the NFL. He may not be an immediate starter, but he's the type of guy that will only get better as he gains experience.

Also keep in mind that Ohio State is practically "Center U". Going back to LeCharles Bentley in 2000, the last six Buckeye centers have spent time in the NFL. A couple of them have even spent some of that time at the Pro Bowl.


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