NFL Draft Notebook: Production down at former football factory Ohio State


NEW YORK (AP) — When it comes to football factories, few schools pump out NFL players like Ohio State.

But coach Jim Tressel’s assembly line slowed some this year as the Buckeyes produced four draft picks, but none until the fourth round.

It was the first time since 2005 that the Buckeyes did not have a player drafted in the first round, breaking a four-year streak, and it was the first time since 1998 that no Buckeyes went in the first three rounds.

The first Ohio State player drafted was defensive end/linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, who went in the fourth round to the Pittsburgh Steelers with pick No. 116 overall on Saturday. That’s after players from the University of Cincinnati and Ohio University were selected.

The next Ohio State players went at the end of the seventh round with compensatory picks. Defensive lineman Doug Worthington was picked by the Steelers in the seventh round with pick No. 242, safety Kurt Coleman went two picks later to Philadelphia and linebacker Austin Spitler was taken by Miami at 252.

From 1999-2009, only three times was an Ohio State player not drafted in the first round (2002, ’03 and ’05). The longest wait for a Buckeye to go during those years was 2005, when defensive back Dustin Fox was taken in the third round, 80th overall, by the Vikings.


Of course not having a lot of players drafted is not all bad news. The Buckeyes figure to start next season ranked in the top five nationally, so clearly they have some future pros on the roster.

The Buckeyes top NFL prospect heading into next season is defensive end Cameron Heyward, who has the talent and potential to develop into a high first-round pick.


TOUGH CROWD: New York can be a rough town for an Eagles fans, even if he is one of the greatest American Olympians in history.

Sprinter Carl Lewis, who went to Willingboro High School in southern New Jersey, was booed by New York fans when he announced Philadelphia’s first fourth-round pick.

Lewis shouldn’t feel too bad. Even the Eagles’ cheerleaders were booed when they made a brief appearance on stage during the sixth round.

A few other celebrities made their way to the draft Saturday.

The Detroit Lions had ABC news reporter Bob Woodruff, who was injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle in 2006 while reporting in Iraq, announce their fourth-round pick.

The Redskins had recently retired offensive tackle Chris Samuels announce its fourth-round pick. Former Jaguars Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tony Boselli, the first player ever drafted by Jacksonville, announced two of the teams selections.

The Giants had former tight end Mark Bavaro, a star on New York’s 1986 and ’90 Super Bowl champion, announced a pick for his former team.

The New York Jets used wide receiver Braylon Edwards to make their fourth-round selection.


EARLY OUT AND UNDRAFTED: Jevan Snead went from Heisman Trophy contender to undrafted.

The Mississippi quarterback decided to skip his senior season and make himself eligible for the draft despite having a disappointing junior season in 2009.

Snead, the former Texas transfer, completed only 54 percent of his passes and threw 20 interceptions in what was expected to be a breakout year for him at Ole Miss.

It was a surprise when Snead chose to leave college early, but in what was considered a thin draft for quarterbacks it seemed like a calculated gamble.

It didn’t pay off, but Snead was not the only early entrant to go undrafted.

Six others who left eligibility behind — including Marshall running back Darius Marshall, who was 16th in the nation in rushing last season — will have to hook on with NFL teams as free agents.


QUARTERBACKS: What was viewed as a weak draft for quarterbacks played out with 13 taken in seven rounds.

On the final day of the draft, nine quarterbacks went with Northwestern’s scrambling Mike Kafka the first to be selected. He went in the fourth round to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 122nd pick.

Next off the board was Fordham’s John Skelton, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound late-bloomer from Texas who has drawn some comparisons to Joe Flacco, another FCS quarterback who has gone on to become a starter with the Baltimore Ravens.

Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton, who entered college as a big-time recruit but didn’t blossom until his senior year under Lane Kiffin, was the seventh QB taken. He went to San Diego with the last pick in the fifth round.

In the sixth round, Tennessee took Florida Atlantic’s Rusty Smith, who goes to the same Jacksonville, Fla., church as Tim Tebow, with the 176th pick; Chicago took Central Michigan’s Dan Lefevour with the 181st pick; Carolina took Cincinnati’s Tony Pike, to go with second-rounder Jimmy Clausen, with pick No. 204.

In the seventh round, Buffalo selected Troy’s Levi Brown at 209; New Orleans picked Oregon State’s Sean Canfield at 239; and New England picked Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson at 250.


JUST FOR KICKS: Michigan’s Zoltan Mesko was the first specialist taken in the draft when he was selected in the fifth round, No. 150 overall, by New England.

A left-footed punter, Mesko’s punts tend to have unusual spin and he’s adept at directional and pooch kicks. Last season he averaged 44.5 yards per punt with 15 of his 52 kicks being downed inside the 20.

Punter Brent Bowden from Virginia Tech was the next specialist taken. He went in the sixth round, 172 overall, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Giants took another punter, Matt Dodge of East Carolina, in the seventh round with pick No. 221.


MVDP: The most valuable draft pick in NFL history? According the editors it’s Joe Montana, who was picked 82nd overall in 1979 out of Notre Dame by the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers also had the second-most valuable draft pick with Jerry Rice, who was picked 16th in 1985 out of Mississippi Valley State.

Walter Payton, the fourth pick overall in 1975 from Jackson State, was third on the list.


LAST BUT NOT LEAST: This year’s Mr. Irrelevant was Weber State wide receiver Tim Toone, picked with the last selection, No. 255 overall, in the draft by the Detroit Lions.