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Can the Ohio State Buckeyes Make NFL Draft History in 2016?

Eli Apple

Eli Apple

The Ohio State Buckeyes will be well represented in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft. Ohio State was going to be sending a strong group of seniors to the draft, but the Buckeyes had several talented underclassmen give up their final year of eligibility following the 2016 BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl. In some circumstances, there were some players who gave up two years of eligibility as redshirt sophomores.

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Related: Ranking the Top 100 Prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft

Ohio State could possibly tie with Miami for the most picks in the first round, which is six. The Hurricanes set the record in 2004. While six first-round draft choices may not happen, another possibility is for Ohio State to break its school record for most selections in a single draft, which is 14 (2004).

Ohio State’s 2016 NFL Draft Prospects

DE Joey Bosa

A no-brainer first-rounder. Earlier in the process, Bosa was mentioned as a possibility for the No. 1 overall pick. This does not look it will be the case following Los Angeles trading with Tennessee to get the first pick, presumably to take a quarterback. Bosa will go in the top 10 picks somewhere, possibly to Dallas at fourth overall.

RB Ezekiel Elliott

Another no-brainer first-rounder. Elliott is the only running back in the 2016 NFL Draft mentioned as a likely first-round selection. Elliott has been mentioned to possibly go to Dallas at fourth overall. With Cleveland picking eighth, could Elliott be making the move up north from Columbus to join the Browns?

OT Taylor Decker

Decker will not go as high as other offensive tackles such as Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss or Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame, but figures to go somewhere between the middle and end of the first round. Teams such as Detroit, Indianapolis and Seattle have all been rumored to have interest in Decker.

LB Darron Lee

Lee replaced current Pittsburgh Steeler Ryan Shazier in the starting lineup, and has a similar style of play from the linebacker position. Lee will go somewhere in the middle of the first round. One team in particular that has been showing interest is Atlanta.

CB Eli Apple

Apple gave up two years of eligibility to enter the draft. Apple should be a first-round selection, largely drafted for his physical skills and long-term potential. Teams rumored to have interest include Miami and Tennessee.

DB Vonn Bell

Bell is another early entrant, forgoing his final year of eligibility. Bell could sneak into the first round, but will last no later than the second round. Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh have all shown interest.

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WR Michael Thomas

Thomas is in the second tier of wide receivers available in the 2016 NFL Draft. Thomas could sneak into the late first round, but seems to be a probable second-round projection. Minnesota, Cleveland and Cincinnati are all possible destinations.

WR Braxton Miller

Miller is a true projection, after only spending one season as a wide receiver. Considering Miller’s speed, agility and elusiveness, he could be taken somewhere in the second or third rounds. Teams such as Kansas City and New England have been rumored to have interest.

TE Nick Vannett

Vannett was underutilized in the Ohio State offense in 2015, but could be picked sometime on day 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft, possibly in the third round. San Diego, Miami, Carolina and the New York Jets have all shown interest in Vannett.

DL Adolphus Washington

Washington was suspended for the 2016 BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl, but rebounded to participate in the highly important Senior Bowl. Washington will probably be a late day 2 pick, hearing his named called at some point during the third round. Buffalo and Tennessee have shown interest.

QB Cardale Jones

Jones had a disappointing Scouting Combine performance, but was able to participate in Ohio State’s Pro Day on March 11 in Columbus. Jones will possibly go in the third round. Arizona, San Diego and Buffalo have all shown varying levels of interest.

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LB Joshua Perry

Perry might be a good fit at inside linebacker for a team that runs a 3-4 defense. Perry looks to be a late day 2 pick in the third round, possibly even day 3 selection in the fourth round.

DB Tyvis Powell

Powell gave up his final year of eligibility, which was somewhat of a surprise for both Ohio State coaches and fans. Powell has worked out for the New York Giants, and has met with Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans and Tennessee. Powell will be a day 3 selection, somewhere between the fourth and seventh rounds.

WR Jalin Marshall

Like Eli Apple, Marshall also gave up two years of eligibility, entering the draft as a redshirt sophomore. Similar to Tyvis Powell, Marshall’s decision surprised both Ohio State’s coaches and fans. Marshall had a disappointing performance at the Combine in the 40-yard dash (4.68). Marshall is projected as a late day 3 selection, and possibly could go undrafted. Marshall had a workout recently with Cincinnati.

OL Chase Farris

Farris moved back and forth between offensive and defensive line throughout his career, settling in as Ohio State’s starting right tackle in 2015. Projected to move inside to guard at the NFL level, Farris could be picked in the late rounds, but seems likely to be an undrafted free agent prospect.

Farris and Marshall represent Ohio State's best chances to either tie, or break, its school record of 14 players drafted. No matter how many Buckeyes are selected; the sheer volume of players that have garnered interest from NFL teams is quite impressive.

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a diehard Ohio State fan. Minnich also writes and podcasts for menofthescarletandgray.com, a site dedicated to Ohio sports with a special emphasis on the Buckeyes. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.