Over the past few years, as the amount of passing increases within the NFL, cornerbacks have become more valuable. The Seattle Seahawks proved their importance when they won the Super Bowl last year with a talented and deep defensive backfield. The 2014 NFL Draft could be a blessing for the many NFL teams that need a corner because it is considered to be loaded with talent. The top of the group has many potential shutdown corners who can take away the other team’s top receiver. The group could produce many starting-caliber players and you may see as many as four to five go in the first round. Despite the rush, teams should still be able to get productive cornerbacks in the later rounds due to the immense depth of the position. Here are my top five corners in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Today we look back. Forget the star-studded 2014 recruiting class. Forget the possibility of having someone not named Luke Fickell coaching the Ohio State defense next season. Today we have but one purpose, and that is to relive the peaks and valleys, twists and turns of another Buckeyes season in the books.
Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier will leave for the NFL Draft, multiple media outlets reported on Saturday afternoon. Quarterback Braxton Miller will stay for his senior season, however, as reported by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.
The news is fairly expected for Shazier. He was a First-Team All-American this season and is likely to be a first round draft pick in the pros. It’s not a surprise that one of the most decorated linebackers in the program’s prestigious history would take the jump to the riches of the pros.
This season, before Friday’s Orange Bowl, Shazier had 134 tackles (40 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, four pass deflections and four forced fumbles. He was a team captain and, on the emotional side, changed his number to No. 2 in support of injured senior co-captain Christian Bryant.
Miller was not likely to be selected in the first two rounds of the draft, thus making his decision a smart one. He won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, but was injury-prone throughout and disappointed at the end of the Orange Bowl.
Overall, Miller had 2,094 passing yards, 1,068 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. He had been undecided in recent weeks about his NFL decision. The report of him staying for one more year certainly is a huge boost to the Buckeyes’ 2014 title hopes. He’s also likely to be among the favorites for the Heisman Trophy.
OSU cornerback Bradley Roby, who missed the Orange Bowl with an knee injury, officially declared for the NFL Draft earlier in the season. He was honored among the team’s seniors during Senior Day against Indiana on Nov. 23. Shazier was not honored during that day.
Thamel also reported that tight end Jeff Heuerman will stay for his senior year.
[Orange Bowl Recap: Watkins, costly turnovers too much for Bucks to overcome]
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
There’s no use in denying it at this point: Ohio State’s defense cost them a shot at the national championship. Through a combination of unfortunate injuries (Christian Bryant), failure to try new players (Vonn Bell), and pure incompetence (Armani Reeves, Pitt Brown, Joshua Perry), the Buckeye defense bungled their way to some embarrassing yardage and point totals against what should have been overmatched opponents.
Now that same defense will be called upon to stop Tajh Boyd and the high-powered Clemson offense, which ranks 11th nationally with 329.3 pass yards per game. That job has gotten harder in the past few days with the news that the Buckeyes could be missing three regular starters.
Starting defensive end Noah Spence and his team best eight sacks did not make the flight to Fort Lauderdale with the team. Coach Urban Meyer originally told the media that Spence is dealing with a personal issue, but on Wednesday it was announced that Spence was suspended for three games, including the Orange Bowl, for an unspecified violation of Big Ten rules. That violation is reportedly the use of an unapproved dietary supplement, but no specifics have been confirmed by the school or conference.
With Spence banned, his starting spot will be deputized by some combination of sophomore Jamal Marcus and junior Steve Miller. The two have seen some action this year, combining for 27 tackles and five sacks, but it is still a significant downgrade from Spence.
Defensive coordinator Luke Fickell also told the media earlier this week that middle linebacker Curtis Grant was unlikely to play as he continues to battle ankle and back ailments.
The most troublesome news, however, comes in the secondary. Earlier in the week Fickell insinuated that All-Big Ten cornerback Bradley Roby could miss the game with the knee injury he suffered against Michigan State. On Wednesday, Meyer told the media in Miami that he did not expect the junior to play against Clemson.
That revelation would mean that Roby’s career in Scarlet and Gray is likely over, as he has made his intention to declare for the NFL Draft exceedingly clear. His career has been a memorable one that included an All-American selection last season, but the last significant play of that career just might end up being the third quarter pass against Michigan State on which Roby bruised his knee and dropped an interception that would have likely locked up the game and a BCS Championship Game berth for the Buckeyes.
If Roby doesn’t suit up, Doran Grant will slide into the top cornerback role with Armani Reeves moving back into the starting lineup. That sounds to me like a recipe for disaster against the Clemson receiving corps led by speedster Sammy Watkins.
In other bad, yet more expected news about the Buckeyes’ defensive backs, Fickell revealed that injured senior safety Christian Bryant would not be able to play on Friday as he continues to recover from the broken ankle he suffered against Wisconsin. Furthermore, Meyer told the media on Thursday that he believes that Bryant’s appeal to the NCAA for a medical redshirt that would grant him an extra year of eligibility was denied, meaning that his collegiate career is over.
All of this news combines to seriously threaten the fragile ecosystem that is the Buckeyes defense. It’s no secret that the secondary is the weakest link of this weak unit. A top-10 team should not have a unit that ranks 102nd nationally as the Buckeyes’ passing defense does. The 259.5 yards they allow per game have come against relatively weak aerial attacks, a category to which Clemson does not belong. Now, with Roby out, there is even more pressure on the Ohio State front seven to get pressure on Tajh Boyd and unsettle the Tigers passing offense.
With Spence out, that responsibility falls on defensive linemen like Adolphus Washington, Michael Bennett, and Joey Bosa. This game could be a coming-out party for the freshman stud from Fort Lauderdale. A massive game on the national stage could launch Bosa’s name into the national spotlight for next season, when he figures to be a candidate for All-Big Ten and possibly even All-American honors.
At the second level, fellow Fort Lauderdale native Ryan Shazier must continue his spectacular season to help pick up the slack from the possible absence of Grant. The junior linebacker is considered slightly undersized, but this week the NFL Draft Advisory Board projected him as a second-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. For the Buckeyes to shut down Clemson, they need Shazier at his best, but a great performance may lead him to enter the draft and forgo his senior season.
Both Shazier and Bosa are vital to the Buckeyes’ hopes. Perhaps even more important will be the play of the secondary itself, specifically the safeties. C.J. Barnett and Corey “Pitt” Brown both had nightmarish games against the Spartans. Those performances led to a reshuffling of the depth chart. Barnett retains his starting spot but must bounce back from his weak showing in Indianapolis. The biggest change on the defense comes with the promotion of true freshman safety Vonn Bell to the first-string nickelback spot. That move means that usual nickelback Tyvis Powell will start in place of Brown at the safety spot opposite Barnett.
While I don’t think we could possibly see this new set of safeties perform as poorly as Barnett and Brown did against Michigan State, they will still need help from the rest of the defense to stifle the Tigers. If Bosa, Shazier, and company can keep Boyd uncomfortable in the pocket, it will go a long way towards helping the Buckeyes secure an impressive BCS victory that could combine with the bowl victories by Michigan State and Nebraska help the Big Ten earn back some much-needed respect.
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The tall order of stopping Clemson’s high-powered offense with a suspect defense just got a little taller for the Ohio State Buckeyes. For Friday night’s Orange Bowl, the team will be without both sophomore defensive end Noah Spence and junior cornerback Bradley Roby. Roby, who has already announced his plans to leave Ohio State for the NFL, has a bone bruise in his knee that will prevent him from playing. For Spence, there was an announcement earlier in the week that he did not travel with the team to Miami, and now we know why.
Spence was suspended for three games, beginning with the Orange Bowl, for a violation of Big Ten rules. It’s been reported by Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch that said violation was the use of an unapproved dietary supplement. The university reportedly worked with Spence’s parents to appeal the conference’s decision, which they believed they had a chance of winning. However, they were ultimately unsuccessful. Spence will also miss next season’s games against Navy and Virginia Tech.
Roby was third on the team with 70 tackles to go with 3 interceptions, 1 punt block recovered for a touchdown, 13 pass breakups, and 16 passes defended, which led the team. Spence had 52 tackles (14.5 for a loss) and leads the team with 8 sacks.
This will put sophomores corner Armani Reeves and defensive end Adolphus Washington into the starting lineup. The Buckeye defense has been suspect all season long, culminating in allowing 41 points to arch-rival Michigan and 34 points against a mediocre Michigan State offense in the Big Ten Championship game. Clemson’s high-octane offense is led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide reciever Sammy Watkins.
Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier was named by USA Today a First-Team All-American in their rosters released yesterday.
The junior linebacker is the heart and soul of the Buckeyes defense. He joined Alabama’s C.J. Mosley and UCLA’s Anthony Barr on the First-Team roster. No other OSU players made the First- or Second-Teams.
In 13 games this season, Shazier has 134 total tackles (94 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, six sacks and four forced fumbles. His numbers dwarfed those of many of his peers. Yet, Wisconsin’s Chris Borland was honored as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Mosley won the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker.
Most NFL mock drafts have Shazier lined up as a first-round selection in next year’s draft. There have been no formal announcements over his intention to leave college, but he is expected to do so. Redshirt junior cornerback Bradley Roby already has declared for the draft, was honored on senior day and is also expected to be a first-round pick.
On the emotional side, fans will recall that Shazier changed his number to No. 2 in early October to honor injured teammate Christian Bryant. The senior safety was a team captain and his loss was a huge blow for the Buckeyes defense, which faltered in the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State.
The Buckeyes are set to play No. 12 Clemson in the Orange Bowl on January 3.
Ohio State junior cornerback Bradley Roby will declare for the 2014 NFL Draft following the end of the Buckeyes’ season. This relatively unsurprising news was declared by Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer on Wednesday.
Scout.com ranks Roby as the No. 2 cornerback eligible for the 2014 Draft, 15th overall, coming in behind only Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Roby, 5-feet-11 and 192 pounds, has eight interceptions and 32 pass breakups in his career at Ohio State. He considered entering the 2013 NFL Draft a year ago as a redshirt sophomore, but decided to return to Ohio State for “one more year.” Roby entered the season as a potential top-10 pick, but his rocky junior campaign—marred with mental mistakes, a suspension, missed tackles and an ejection due to “targeting”—has raised some red flags about his potential at the NFL level.
Meyer said Roby, who is techincally a junior, will be honored on “Senior Day” when Ohio State plays host to Indiana on Saturday.
[Related: Bradley Roby and Picking Nits]
Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to firstname.lastname@example.org
Leading off, the Indians need to make some smart moves in the offseason to get back to the postseason and the 92-win mark. Andy Nichols at IBI explores several tiers of acquisition, including David Freese, “Freese seems to have fallen out of favor a bit in St. Louis, and that could create some trade rumors this winter. Highly regarded second base prospect Kolten Wong is the key to Freese’s availability. If the Cardinals feel Wong is ready to handle an every day major league job, they may move MVP candidate Matt Carpenter back to third base – his original position in the minors. That would open the door for Cleveland to attempt to acquire Freese. While Freese may not be a good fit in the four spot of a lineup, he would certainly help to lengthen it as well as provide some clutch hitting and the ability to drive in runs (see Game 6 of the 2011 World Series). This offseason will be Freese’s second trip through the arbitration process, and he is under team control until 2016.” [Indians Baseball Insider]
Steve Eby at DTTWLN took a look back at the 1997 postseason and the wild ride that was, “Then there are other moments that aren’t really surprising at all…just incredible. They happen over and over so often that they become routine…but still your jaw hits the ground because of how incredible the moment was. Your jaw once again hits the floor and you compose yourself for long enough to say, “I can’t believe that Omar just did that again.” Both of these scenarios played out perfectly for the Indians in Game Six of the 1997 World Series. The Tribe’s backs were against the wall. Win and live to play another day. Lose and go home. “We’ve certainly been in this position before,” Indians Manager Mike Hargrove said in a Sun Sentinel article by Randall Mell. “This team has faced a lot of adversity throughout the season and in the postseason and has come out playing hard. So I expect nothing less.”” [Did The Tribe Win Last Night?] [Read more...]
Iowa gave Ohio State all they could handle in a back and forth battle, but in the end the combination of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde proved to be too much firepower for Iowa to keep up with as the Buckeyes extended their winning streak to 19 games with a 34-24 victory.
Miller was 22-27 passing on the day for 221 yards and 2 TD’s to go with his 101 yards on ground while Hyde rushed for 149 yards and 2 scores on 24 carries. The Buckeyes never punted on the afternoon converting 10-14 on 3rd down.
Iowa started off the game by precisely carving up the Buckeyes’ defense for 12 play, 80 yard opening drive touchdown. Jake Rudock capped off the drive with a 2 yard playaction pass to CJ Fiedorowicz in the back of the end zone.
OSU answered with a field goal drive of their own to bring the score to 7-3. The drive was highlighted by fancy display of running by Braxton Miller who juked and spun his way to a 16 yard game. However the drive stalled on the Iowa ten yardline as Miller’s third down pass was knocked down.
The most talked about moment of the game came on Iowa’s next possession when Rudock completed a pass to Fiedorowicz, and Ohio State All-American corner back Bradley Roby launched his helmet and shoulder at Fiedorowicz, jarring the ball loose. Roby was flagged for a 15 yard penalty and ejected from the game thanks to the NCAA’s new “targeting rule”. The ejection was upheld by the replay booth who confirmed Roby’s hit was in fact a violation of the new targeting rule.
According to a handout produced by College Football Officiating, LLC, if officials see the following things, the risk of a targeting foul is high:
• Launching toward an opponent to make contact in the head or neck area.
A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust with contact at the head or neck area
• Leading with the helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow into the head or neck area.
• Lowering the head before attacking and initiating with the crown of the helmet.
According to that same handout, the following factors would indicate less risk of a targeting penalty being called:
• A heads-up tackle where the crown of the helmet does not strike above the shoulders.
• A wrap-up tackle.
• The head is to the side rather than used to initiate contact.
• Incidental helmet contact due to players changing position during the play.
The Buckeyes’ defense responded after Roby’s ejection by holding the Hawkeyes to a field goal and keeping the score at 10-3.
OSU’s next possession, Braxton Miller found a wide open Philly Brown streaking down the middle of the field for a 58 yard touchdown pass of play action.
The back and forth battle continued as Rudock methodically led Iowa back down the field on 15 play which ended in his second touchdown pass of the day, this time a 6 yard pass to a wide open Kevonte Martin-Manley in the back of the end zone. Iowa’s 15 play drive was the longest scoring drive allowed by the Buckeyes all season.
The Buckeyes threatened on their next drive coming to a 4th and 10 at the Iowa 29. Instead of opting for a 46 yard field goal attempt for Drew Basil, Urban Meyer decided to go for it. On 4th and 10 Miller threw a jump ball to Evan Spencer in the end zone. Spencer was able to get his hands on it, but was in double coverage and the play was broken up for a turnover on downs to allow the Hawkeyes to go into the break with a 17-10 lead.
Ohio State started the second half with a very Iowa like drive, controlling the ball on the ground and Miller going 4-4 in the air with controlled, efficient passing. Carlos Hyde pounded the ball in from the one yard line to give the Bucks a tying touchdown after a 13 play, 75 yard drive.
The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes traded scores once again. Devin Smith’s 14 yard touchdown from Braxton Miller was quickly matched by Jake Rudock’s 85 yard TD pass to tight end Jake Duzey leaving the score knotted up once again at 24-24 late in the 3rd in quarter.
Carlos Hyde gave the Buckeyes the lead back with 13:24 to play in the game after Hyde broke a tackle in the open field that knocked him 5 yards sideways, regained his balanced, sprinted towards the end zone and dove for the pylon for a 19 yard score.
After an OSU stop, the Buckeyes controlled the ball on the ground with more Miller and Hyde, leading to Drew Basil 25 yard field goal to bring the lead to 34-24 with 5:50 remaining.
Basil’s field goal proved to be the knockout punch on Iowa who battled back against the Buckeyes all day. Attempting a hurry up offense to Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock was intercepted by Tyvis Powell, giving the Bucks the ball back with a two score lead and 4:25 remaining.
When a team has a true shutdown cornerback, he functions like a sign in the front yard that says “Secured by ADT.” A lockdown corner is a deterrent. Opponents are dared to throw to his side of the field, and many refuse the challenge. Think of the Nnamdi Asomugha years in Oakland, when he was thrown at just 87 times over a three-year span.
Coming into this season Urban Meyer and Luke Fickell thought they had just that in junior cover man Bradley Roby. He was a first-team All-American in 2012 after breaking up 17 passes, picking off two passes, and adding 63 tackles. He was going to be the guy; a repeat All-American and a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft.
Getting their first true test of the 2013 campaign, the Ohio State Buckeyes won a hard-fought battle with the Wisconsin Badgers 31-24. Quarterback Braxton Miller made his return, started, and played the entire game, relegating spot starter Kenny Guiton to the bench. Miller threw for 198 yards and 4 touchdowns while running for 83 yards. Two of those scores went to Corey “Philly” Brown who had 8 catches for 85 yards. Devin Smith and Evan Spencer each caught touchdown tosses as well. Carlos Hyde ran for 85 tough yards on 17 carries.
The Badgers actually outgained the Buckeyes 399-390 and outscored the Buckeyes 10-0 in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for Ohio State, two turnovers were wiped out by Wisconsin penalties, and they also scored a touchdown on a 40-yard deep ball to Browns as the first half clock wound down. Quarterback Joel Stave threw for 295 yards and 2 scores, while receiver Jared Abbrederis was on the other end of most of those, catching 10 for 207 yards and 1 touchdown, making it a long night for OSU corner Bradley Roby. Wisconsin’s dynamic rushing attack, however, was held to just 104 yards.
The Bucks are now 5-0 on the season and have another conference showdown under the lights next week when they travel to Evanston to take on Northwestern.
A pair of Ohio State players find themselves in the news for unfortunate reasons. Buckeyes running back Carlos Hyde was recently named as the person of interest in a police investigation concerning an altercation at a bar in Columbus over the weekend and has been subsequently dismissed from the team while cornerback Bradley Roby was arrested and faces charges of battery.
Eleven Warriors.com was the first to obtain the police report on Hyde who is linked to the alleged assault of a female which took place early this past Saturday in Columbus. No arrest has been made at this point. The Columbus Dispatch reports that was arrested early Sunday morning in Bloomington, Indiana and is facing preliminary charges of battery resulting in bodily injury. Reports regarding Roby state that the player refused to leave a bar after being asked and had to be “subdued” by in-house security. His case summary was filed as a criminal misdemeanor—a crime with a maximum penalty of six months in jail.
During the Buckeyes’ 12-0 season of 2012, Hyde accounted for 1,021 total yards (970 yards on the ground) and 17 touchdowns. Roby, who opted to return for his junior season rather than going to the NFL, has been listed on several preseason lists for various national awards (including the Thorpe Award) as well as being projected as an All-American. He recorded 62 tackles in 2012, intercepting two passes and defending 16 others.
Eleven Warriors also reports that additional news, potentially involving a third player, may be on the way, though not as severe as the reports surrounding Hyde and Roby.
Athlon Sports ranked the stadiums in the Big Ten, and the pride of Columbus, Ohio came out on top.
“There is little doubt that the Horseshoe is the Big Ten’s best place to watch a game. A great nickname, awesome traditions, tremendous fan support and commitment, elite level of success, High Street and the Banks of the Olentangy make Ohio Stadium a bucket list destination for fans of every team. And with a brand new video board, audio system and LED lighting, Ohio State boasts one of the top college football venues in the nation. Watching the “Dotting of the I” before a Buckeyes game is something all college fans should experience. Finishing No. 2 in average attendance doesn’t hurt either.”
Ohio Stadium was followed by Beaver Stadium (Penn State), Memorial Stadium (Nebraska), Camp Randall (Wisconsin) and Michigan Stadium.
Personally, I believe Camp Randall should be second, but not by that wide a margin as to shout about it.
The publication also released the preseason all-conference teams. The Buckeyes were well represented:
First Team Offense
QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State
C Corey Linsley, Ohio State
OG Andrew Norwell, Ohio State
OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
DE Noah Spence, Ohio State
LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
DE Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
S C.J. Barnett, Ohio State
S Christian Bryant, Ohio State
WR Corey Brown, Ohio State
PR Jordan Hall, Ohio State
In all, 13 Buckeyes were named. Ohio State had more total players named (13) than any other school, and the most on the first team (7). Athlon is putting a lot of faith in second year defensive linemen Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington.
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“There is a new feeling around the Cleveland Indians. It isn’t a feeling of cockiness, but confidence. It’s a feeling of pride in what has been accomplished since the end of a 94-loss season in 2012, and also a focus on the work that is left to be done. It’s a feeling of comfort and trust, while starting so many things different and new. However you try to describe the feeling, it is one created by new Manager Terry Francona.” [Mike Brandyberry/Did The Tribe Win Last Night?] [Read more...]
Well, the undefeated season for the Ohio State Buckeyes is officially over. All we are left to deal with are articles about what could have been, what should have been and what the NCAA or Ohio State could have done differently to avoid this debacle. Somewhere along the line you will find articles tying all of those pieces together in an effort to claim to know what would have been best for each situation. Put me in the camp where I think the Buckeyes got what they deserved. It is extremely unfortunate considering what came out later for other schools, but it is the bed they made regardless of the seasons’ outcome.
Given all of that, somehow the season does not really feel like it’s over to me. I get that there are no more games to be played by the Buckeyes this year, but finishing the season the way they did with two huge wins, it feels as though the ending was more of a springboard for this team than a true conclusion. The Buckeyes were not supposed to go undefeated this soon. Urban Meyer was supposed to come into this season to assess players that he largely had no hand in recruiting prior to, realize the talent and start building a winning program with his guys that fit his system under his coaching style.
Instead, he came right in and led this team to an undefeated, 12-0 season in his very first year. What the heck? How do you build on that?!
With confidence and an influx of top tier recruits, that’s how. [Read more...]