NFL finds wide receivers, not quarterbacks, at Ohio State


Paul Warfield photo courtesy of the Miami Dolphins

Few colleges send NFL-ready products to the NFL like Ohio State.

According to pro-football-reference.com, the Buckeyes rank third all-time in NFL draft picks with 447. Ohio State also ranks second all-time in first-round picks with 77. So it comes as no surprise that the Buckeyes have become so prolific at producing one position in particular – wide receiver.

Ohio State has three Hall-of-Fame wide receivers: Dante Lavelli, Paul Warfield and Cris Carter. Warfield and Carter are among the eight wide receivers from the school drafted in the first round. Buckeyes have been taken with the seventh (Terry Glenn), eighth (Joey Galloway, David Boston), ninth (Ted Ginn Jr.) and 11th (Warfield) overall choices of a draft. There have been five more Ohio State receivers selected in the second round.

What is surprising, though, is the lack of quality quarterbacks Ohio State has produced to complement all those elite receivers. Only one Ohio State quarterback became a first-round pick – Art Schlichter, who became the fourth overall choice of the 1982 draft by the Baltimore Colts. But he wound up starting only six NFL games in his three-year career, throwing just three touchdown passes.

Ohio State quarterbacks have enjoyed some success in the NFL. Rex Kern started 15 games for the Colts – at safety. Tom Tupa ranks 35th all-time – in career punts. And Terrelle Pryor became a 1,000-yard receiver in 2016 for the Cleveland Browns.

But you’ll find only one Ohio State quarterback in the NFL’s Top 250 in passing – journeyman Kent Graham near the bottom of that list with 7,801 yards. He started 38 games for seven teams in an 11-year career.

As part of our six-part NFL draft series on the top college producers, the Talk of Fame Network put the spotlight on Ohio State this week. The Buckeyes have produced 10 Hall of Famers, including former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He caught nine passes for 131 yards and the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of a 27-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in 2009.

Warfield won an NFL title with the Cleveland Browns in 1964 and a pair of Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins in the 1970s. Lavelli won four All-America Football Conference titles and three more NFL crowns with the Browns, and Carter ranks fourth in career touchdown receptions with 130.

Here’s a look at Ohio State’s all-time NFL team:

OFFENSE

QB – Kent Graham, 1,339 career passes
HB –Eddie George, 10,000 career rusher
FB – Matt Snell, 3 Pro Bowls
WR – Paul Warfield, Hall of Fame
WR – Cris Carter, Hall of Fame
TE – Rickey Dudley, 221 career catches, 33 TDs
OT – Orlando Pace, Hall of Fame
OT – Jim Tyrer, All-time All-AFL team
G – Jim Parker, Hall of Fame
G – Dick Schafrath, 6 Pro Bowls
C – Nick Mangold, 7 Pro Bowls

DEFENSE

DE – Jim Marshall, NFL record 29 fumble recoveries
DE – Joey Bosa, 2016 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
DT – Bill Willis, Hall of Fame
DT – Dan Wilkinson, first overall pick of 1994 NFL draft
LB – Randy Gradishar, 1978 NFL Defensive Player of the Year
LB – Chris Spielman, 4 Pro Bowls
LB – Pepper Johnson, 2 Pro Bowls
CB – Dick Lebeau, Hall of Fame
CB – Antoine Winfield, 3 Pro Bowls
S – Donte Whitner, 3 Pro Bowls
S – Malcolm Jenkins, Pro Bowl

SPECIAL TEAMS

K – Lou Groza, Hall of Fame
P – Tom Tupa, Pro Bowl

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