Ohio State has seemingly been an NFL talent factory for a long time, especially in the last seven years under the reign of head coach Urban Meyer. The 2018 NFL Draft was no different, as seven OSU players were chosen in this edition, as well has a handful of other players being taken on as undrafted free agents.
With the first week of the NFL preseason in the books, a bunch of these Buckeyes got their first taste of the professional game. While most guys will have to put in significant work to earn some playing time as rookies, a couple will have the opportunity to make an immediate impact in 2018.
The first in that category is cornerback Denzel Ward, selected fourth overall by the Cleveland Browns in April’s Draft. Ward, who is already listed in the Browns’ depth chart as a starting defensive back, wasted no time making an immediate statement in the NFL, laying a huge hit on New York Giants wide receiver Hunter Sharp reminiscent of his famous hit against Maryland last season as a Buckeye.
Billy Price and Jerome Baker each saw pretty significant playing time for their respective teams as well. Price, selected 21st overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, was part of an offensive line unit that looked very strong, with Price functioning as the team’s starting center. Baker, selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 73rd pick, made some nice plays from the linebacker spot, tying for the team lead with five total tackles including one for a loss.
Some of the Buckeyes’ rookie debuts did not go quite so well, however. Most notably offensive tackle Jamarco Jones. Jones, a 5th-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks, was carted off the field late in the game after getting his leg rolled on. Fortunately for Jones and the team, x-rays came back negative, with head coach Pete Carroll calling it a “legit ankle sprain.”
Sam Hubbard, taken in the third round by the Bengals, seemed to struggle a bit in his first taste of NFL action. He missed a few tackles early on, but eventually would get it together and put together an okay debut. Finishing with two total tackles, one for a loss, Hubbard looked much more comfortable against the run game than the pass rush.
A couple other former Buckeyes saw limited playing time in their respective teams’ first preseason game.
Jalyn Holmes, taken 102nd overall by Minnesota, seemed to be deep on the Vikings depth chart and saw very little playing time. When he was in, he lined up more as a defensive tackle than a defensive end, registering one pass deflection in the game against the Broncos.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett saw some snaps late in the New Orleans Saints game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Barrett handed off the ball on a run play that went for a touchdown, but did not throw a pass in the game. Other OSU undrafted free agents like Barrett, including linebacker Chris Worley, defensive tackle Tracy Sprinkle and safety Damon Webb got a few snaps without any significant impact.
Of the seven Ohio State players taken in the Draft, the only one to not see playing time was defensive end Tyquan Lewis, who did not dress for the Colts’ preseason opener.
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