Ohio State Buckeyes Defense Loaded With Future NFL Draft Picks


Oct 25, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Joey Bosa (97) reacts after beating the Penn State Nittany Lions 31-24 at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes defense is loaded with NFL Draft prospects. Entering the season, the defense–especially the line–was thought to be a strength of the team–so it won’t be a surprise to see these elite student athletes playing on Sundays in the future.

Joey Bosa

The player grabbing most of the headlines this season is defensive lineman Joey Bosa, and for good reason. When you’re compared to J.J. Watt, the spotlight is sure to find you.

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Think about it, when you’re compared to Watt–a player unanimously thought to be the best defender in the NFL–you’re guaranteed to be a first-round selection.

The sophomore wonder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. only has 30 tackles this season, but 11 1/2 of those have gone for a loss. He’s a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award.

Adolphus Washington

The former five-star recruit out of Cincinnati Taft High School started his Buckeye career as an edge rusher, but moved to the interior this season under new defensive line coach Larry Johnson.

The 6-foot-4, 288 pound junior has crushed it this season and is rated seventh out of 186 defensive tackles by NFL Draft Scout.

Darron Lee

Lee, a redshirt freshman, may be the biggest surprise on defense this season. Nobody expected him to be this good at outside linebacker, so soon. He’s drawn some comparison to Cie Grant, but the argument could be made that he’s already better.

Lee went from a high school quarterback at Ohio’s New Albany High School, to a bonafied playmaker who is fifth on the team with 31 tackles this season. He’s also second on the Buckeyes in tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (3.5) trailing only All-American candidate Joey Bosa in both categories.

He runs a sub-4.5 40 time, according to Meyer, and as we know, speed rules in the NFL.

Eli Apple

The 6-foot-1 cornerback is rated third out of 92 cornerbacks on NFL Draft Scout, and remember, he’s still young, playing in freshman season.

Apple, who is just a redshirt freshman,  is coming off a huge game against Illionis, where he rated out as a “Champion” in the eyes of the Buckeye coaching staff.

Apple only appears to be getting better with time and his size (corners above 6-foot) fits with what’s in vogue in today’s NFL.

Michael Bennett

The Centerville product was the most obvious NFL prospect on the Buckeyes heading into the season. The senior defensive tackle is projected to be taken somewhere in the first or second round of this spring’s draft.

Back in August, Mel Kiper Jr. listed Bennet as the 15th ranked player on his first “Top 25 of the 2015 NFL Draft.”