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Buckeyes Busted: What Now?

Posted by Jordan Finley on May 10, 2011 – 10:29 pm in: 2012, NFL Draft

Ask anyone and their mother what the biggest storyline was of this past off-season in college football and they’ll have to answer with the catastrophe that has become the Ohio State University football program.  Just when the average follower or even beat writer thinks that this horrendous publicity could be over, another leak seems to burst through the fundamental piping of the program.

With five essential players (QB Terrelle Pryor, RB Daniel “Boom” Herron, WR DeVier Posey, OT Mike Adams and DE Soloman Thomas) and ultimately the most important person to the program, head coach Jim Tressell being suspended for the first five games, the program is bound to run into some trouble on the field, for once.  Now with word coming out of media outlets here in Columbus that some players may have even received cars as extra benefits, the team may see even more players being suspended or sanctions handed out depending on the fallout within the next couple of weeks.

However, that’s not what we’re here to talk about.  We’re here to discuss how these suspensions will affect the five players upcoming draft stocks.  These five players (regardless of whether or not they did the wrong thing) ultimately had the repercussions of this wrongdoing happen at the ironically perfect time.  The fact that they’ll miss the first five games before their respective senior seasons does not bid well at all for their chances of being taken any earlier than they were projected before the scandal.  Let’s take a look at the prospects and where they go from here, shall we?

Terrelle Pryor // Quarterback

–           Undoubtedly the most important player to the entire Ohio State squad, Pryor was one of the most talked about prospects of the 2012 draft even before “Tattoo Gate.”  However, now that he has this ordeal on his hands he has even more questions from general managers to answer down the road.  From an athletic standpoint, the guy is elite, plain and simple.  Not many quarterbacks are as blessed as Pryor as he is capable of slinging the ball 50 yards down field or busting a 50 yard run.  Coming in as the consensus #1 recruit during the 2007 circuit, he brought in a ton of hype with him to the school and if you ask the average fan, he hasn’t lived up to it.  He is still raw in a lot of aspects of his game as his footwork is horrendous, he forces way too many balls and may just lack the overall poise in the pocket to be a true elite player in the collegiate game.

How will Pryor help or hurt his stock after returning from his suspension?

Don’t let that fool you though as his freak athleticism will alone make scouts drool.  Some scouts view the guy as a mid to late round selection while others see him as an early round guy who is possibly worthy of the time if you invest it the right way.  Unfortunately, he has been known around Columbus as a bit of a diva at times and sometimes comes with a lackluster effort but when it comes to game time, he has been known to leave it all on the field and really cares about winning for his teammates.  Regardless, this suspension doesn’t help his cause.  I don’t see him getting past the 3rd round from an early standpoint of the 2012 process but his play on the field once he returns to play in Lincoln against newly minted Big 10 member Nebraska on October 8th.  That day will be one that Terrelle Pryor will prepare for throughout months and possibly has already started.

Daniel “Boom” Herron // Running Back

–          Of the four offensive players being suspended this year for the Buckeyes, Herron may be in the most danger.  However, he is a very talented player that could still contribute at the next level.  He came on severely strong during his junior year logging in over 1100 yards rushing and 16 trips to the endzone.  He’s an underrated inside runner, especially for his mere listed size at 5’10” 200 pounds.  Blend that with his good athleticism and downhill ability and you have a prospect that would most likely go in the 3rd round.  Yet due to his absence, Herron could see his name dramatically slide down teams’ boards come April of 2012.  The fact that running back is such a fluid position on a lot of teams throughout the country and especially on Ohio State’s roster, he may not see a lot of carries this year.

Why you ask?  Two words: Rod Smith.  The first year (technically second year) running back has been on fire so far this spring and will most likely burst onto the scene and potentially be the Buckeyes’ premier back in the fall.  This is obviously not good for Herron and chances are, if Smith is tearing it up like projected, Herron will not return as the starting tailback for the team.  If this indeed happens, Herron could go as early as the 4th round but will most likely be a late round pick or maybe even undrafted.  I still wouldn’t put it past Herron to still be a consistent contributor at the next level as a rotational guy.

DeVier Posey // Wide Receiver

–          After looking at Posey during his sophomore season, it was thought that he could go as early as the first or second round following his junior year.  Don’t just look at the stats though, as Posey’s third year was inconsistent.  He dropped more balls last year than he should have and didn’t come up big when the team most needed him.  On the good side though, he’s a tremendous athlete and just seems like a natural receiver running down the field.  He’s extremely fluid and if he can get his route running down then his potential is just amazing.  Not only can he be a deep threat but his size (6’3” 210”) allows him to also be a consistent threat in the red zone as well.

I wouldn’t look for his stock to drop entirely too much after the suspension though as his position is always looked upon for depth and not a single scout will deny his natural athleticism on the field.  After his junior season, I called Posey a 3rd round prospect and I wouldn’t expect it to be any different after his senior campaign in Columbus.  The Buckeyes do not have the greatest talent or reliability at the wide receiver spot, so he should be able to step right back into the swing of things at the line of scrimmage.  The furthest I could see him fall is the 5th round due to the tremendous amount of green that his game still has but he’s definitely worth picking up as a steal at that point.

Mike Adams // Offensive Tackle

Adams (second from the left) may be the biggest surprise talent of the suspended group of Buckeyes.

–          His name probably isn’t as known among the average fans of college football but Adams may have be the earliest pick of the five kids suspended.  The Dublin, Ohio native came in as a highly regarded prospect out of high school and began his first full year as a starter at the left tackle spot for the team last year as a junior.  Although he has been a little inconsistent with his technique and overall effort, Adams still has the massive listed size (6’8” 320), good athleticism and light feet to be an early round pick in 2012.  He may have to deal with players like second year guy Marcus Hall or even incoming freshman Andrew Norwell but Adams shouldn’t have any trouble reclaiming his role as the starting left tackle once the Bucks take on Nebraska.  He should be at a third round pick at minimum when the draft rolls around.

Soloman Thomas // Defensive End

–          The final perpetrator of the Ohio State scandal is Thomas, a rotation guy who really hasn’t done a whole lot with his time at Ohio State.  He did however provide one of the more essential plays for the team during their 2010 campaign when he intercepted Ryan Mallett in the Sugar Bowl which sealed the victory for the Buckeyes.  In the end, I don’t see Thomas getting drafted as he simply has too much unproven aspects of his game that a team shouldn’t take a risk on him, even in the 7th round.

Plain and simple, the 7-9 games that these players do get to participate in will be the biggest games of their lives.  If they want a big paycheck next April, they had better put up some big numbers this season.  All of these kids now have the ever horrid tag of “possible character concerns” next to their name and that never helps but a winning season always aids the cure.

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