The fall 2020 Big Ten football schedule is still up in the air, but the pros are ready to kick off their year tonight.
That means more than 50 former Buckeyes will be in action this weekend, including seven rookies.
The full release from Ohio State is below.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – When the Houston Texans take on defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City tonight to officially kick off the 2020 NFL season, they’ll rely on the play of former Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby to slow down league MVP Patrick Mahomes and a high-powered Chiefs offense.
Roby is part of a contingent of 54 former Buckeyes who are in the NFL as the league begins its 101st season on either the active roster (48), injured reserve (three) or practice squads (three). And, it’s fitting that a cornerback will be the first to take the field this fall.
A total of 11 defensive backs (six cornerbacks, five safeties) are active for Week 1 while two others – Eli Apple of Carolina and Gareon Conley of Houston – are currently on injured reserve but can return to their teams in three weeks. Week 1 also features two rookies who were taken in the first round of last spring’s NFL Draft – No. 3 overall selection Jeff Okudah (Detroit) and the 19th pick, Damon Arnette, who went to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Okudah and Arnette are joined by seven other rookies on active rosters set to make their debuts this weekend: Chase Young (Washington), J.K. Dobbins (Baltimore), Malik Harrison (Baltimore), DaVon Hamilton (Jacksonville), Jonah Jackson (Detroit), K.J. Hill (Los Angeles Chargers) and Jordan Fuller (Los Angeles Rams). Austin Mack (New York Giants), Binjimen Victor (New York Giants) and Rashod Berry (New England Patriots) were practice squad signees while Jashon Cornell, a seventh-round selection by the Detroit Lions, was placed on injured reserve, bringing the Buckeyes’ NFL rookie class to 13 total members.
Most Defensive Ends and Wide Receivers
While Ohio State’s run of producing NFL-caliber defensive backs has been impressive, don’t forget about the guys they go against on the other side of the ball. When seventh-round pick K.J. Hill earned a spot on the Chargers’ roster, he became the seventh Buckeye wide receiver on an opening-day roster, which is tied with Clemson for the most of any program. The group is comprised of six players who have been in the league five years or less and the most veteran of Ohio State’s entire NFL contingent: Ted Ginn, Jr., who is entering his 14th season and is a member of the Chicago Bears.
No other program will have more defensive ends on opening-day rosters than Ohio State, including the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 Draft, Chase Young, who will look to follow in the footsteps of NFL Defensive Rookies of the Year Joey Bosa (2016) and Nick Bosa (2019). Six of Ohio State’s seven NFL defensive ends were coached by Larry Johnson.
At Least One Buckeye in 15 of 16 Opening-Weekend Games
Of the 16 opening-weekend games scheduled, only one – New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills – will not include at least one former Buckeye. Going into the season, 26 of the NFL’s 32 teams have at least one former Buckeye on their roster. Cincinnati and Washington – with four players each – lead the way followed by Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas and New Orleans with three.
A Youth Movement & Veteran Faces in New Places
Two-thirds of Ohio State’s active NFL players – 32 of 48 – have three years or less experience in the league. A couple of its veterans, however, switched addresses during the offseason and are looking to make an instant impact in new homes. In Malcom Jenkins’ case, his new address is actually an old address. The 11-year pro is back with the New Orleans Saints, who drafted him back in 2009. Vonn Bell, meanwhile, is set to make his debut with the Cincinnati Bengals as he begins his fifth NFL season. He was previously a member of the New Orleans Saints.
Raekwon McMillan, who spent his first three seasons with the Miami Dolphins, was traded during training camp to the Las Vegas Raiders and will unite with Jonathan Hankins and Damon Arnette on the Raiders’ defense. Other veterans who found new teams during free agency were Ted Ginn Jr. (Chicago), Carlos Hyde (Seattle), Eli Apple (Carolina) and Nate Ebner (New York Giants).
One veteran who isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future is DT Cam Heyward in Pittsburgh. Entering his 10th NFL season, Heyward agreed on Monday to a five-year, $75.1 million contract extension. The deal makes Heyward the highest-paid defensive player over the age of 30 in league history.
Most Active NFL Players on Opening-Weekend NFL Rosters
as of Sept. 10, 2020
1. Alabama – 54
2. Ohio State – 48
3. LSU – 41
4. Florida – 39
5. Michigan – 33
Most Defensive Backs on Active NFL Rosters
1. Alabama – 12 (6 CBs, 6 SAFs)
2. Ohio State – 11 (6 CBs, 5 SAFs)
Florida – 11 (7 CBs, 4 SAFs)
4. LSU – 8 (5 CBs, 3 SAFs)
Texas – 8 (3 CBs, 5 SAFs)
Most Wide Receivers on Active NFL Rosters
1. Ohio State – 7
Clemson – 7
3. LSU – 5
Florida – 5
Oklahoma – 5
Miami – 5
Alabama – 5
Most Defensive Ends on Active NFL Rosters
1. Ohio State – 7
2. Miami – 5
3. Florida – 4
Texas – 4
Florida State – 4
Buckeyes on 2020 NFL Rosters
Active by position – 48
As of Sept. 10, 2020
Defensive Back (11)
CB Damon Arnette – Las Vegas Raiders
SAF Vonn Bell – Cincinnati Bengals
SAF Nate Ebner – New York Giants
SAF Jordan Fuller – Los Angeles Rams
SAF Malik Hooker – Indianapolis Colts
SAF Malcolm Jenkins – New Orleans Saints
CB Marshon Lattimore – New Orleans Saints
CB Jeff Okudah – Detroit Lions
CB Bradley Roby – Houston Texans
CB Kendall Sheffield – Atlanta Falcons
CB Denzel Ward – Cleveland Browns
Defensive Line (11)
DE Joey Bosa – Los Angeles Chargers
DE Nick Bosa – San Francisco 49ers
DT DaVon Hamilton – Jacksonville Jaguars
DT Jonathan Hankins – Las Vegas Raiders
DT Cameron Heyward – Pittsburgh Steelers
DT Jalyn Holmes – Minnesota Vikings
DE Sam Hubbard – Cincinnati Bengals
DE Dre’Mont Jones – Denver Broncos
DE Tyquan Lewis – Indianapolis Colts
DE John Simon – New England Patriots
DE Chase Young – Washington Football Team
Offensive Line (8)
OT Taylor Decker – Detroit Lions
OG Pat Elflein – Minnesota Vikings
OG Jonah Jackson – Detroit Lions
OT Jamarco Jones – Seattle Seahawks
OG Michael Jordan – Cincinnati Bengals
OC Corey Linsley – Green Bay Packers
OG Andrew Norwell – Jacksonville Jaguars
OC Billy Price – Cincinnati Bengals
Wide Receivers (7)
WR Noah Brown – Dallas Cowboys
WR Parris Campbell – Indianapolis Colts
WR Ted Ginn Jr. – Chicago Bears
WR K.J. Hill – Los Angeles Chargers
WR Terry McLaurin – Washington Football Team
WR Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers
WR Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
LB Jerome Baker – Miami Dolphins
LB Malik Harrison – Baltimore Ravens
LB Raekwon McMillen – Las Vegas Raiders
Running Backs (3)
RB J.K. Dobbins – Baltimore Ravens
RB Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys
RB Carlos Hyde – Seattle Seahawks
Tight End (2)
TE Marcus Baugh – Washington Football Team
TE Nick Vannett – Denver Broncos
Dwayne Haskins – Washington Football Team
P Cameron Johnston – Philadelphia Eagles
LS Jake McQuaide – Los Angeles Rams
Injured Reserve (3)
CB Eli Apple – Carolina Panthers
CB Gareon Conley – Houston Texans
DT Jashon Cornell – Detroit Lions
Practice Squad (3)
DL Rashod Berry – New England Patriots
WR Austin Mack – New York Giants
WR Binjimen Victor – New York Giants