After what was undoubtedly an anxious Friday night, in which no Buckeyes were taken in the 2011 NFL Draft, Saturday saw four Ohio State players join first-round pick Cameron Heyward in the league that plays on Sundays. Chimdi Chekwa, who was graded by some to go as high as the second round, found a home in Oakland. The Raiders took Chekwa with the 16th pick in the fourth round on Saturday. Chekwa is an Al Davis type of player, a speedy corner who works better in press coverage. Because he wasn’t the only cornerback taken by Oakland in this draft (the Raiders nabbed DeMarcus Van Dyke of Miami in the third round), Chekwa will have a battle on his hands when camp opens, but he will have an immediate opportunity to win a starting spot.
Jermale Hines was the next Buckeye to hear his name called, going to the St. Louis Rams with the 27th pick in the fifth round. Hines could fill a hybrid role in the Rams’ defense. He was the first defensive back the Rams selected. Time ticked down on the draft, leaving anxious moments for those players who still hadn’t found a team, before the Philadelphia Eagles chose Brian Rolle deep in the sixth round (193rd overall), who seems an excellent fit with their defensive scheme. Despite being undersized for an NFL linebacker, the Eagles play a style that will allow Rolle to use his speed to run to the ball. Ross Homan became the fifth and final Buckeye taken in the draft when the Minnesota Vikings called his name seven spots after Rolle became an Eagle. Homan will likely compete for a depth position, with a shot at playing on special teams as a rookie.
Surprisingly, wide receiver and undersized beast Dane Sanzenbacher did not get selected. Perhaps a history of concussions dropped Sanzo’s stock, but no doubt he’ll catch on (pun intended, sorry) with someone as a free agent and go on to torture 31 of the NFL’s 32 teams for years to come. When a player like Sanzenbacher goes undrafted, it kind of makes you wonder what goes through the mind of an NFL general manager. Having some experience at drafts in another sport (hockey), I know that sometimes a scout will argue vociferously for a team to draft a player, but ultimately get vetoed or outvoted. It’s impossible to know if this was the case for Sanzo, but I’d like to think there were several scouts trying to persuade their teams to take him, citing his fearlessness, great hands, route running, football IQ and history of making crucial plays at the highest level of college football.
Other Buckeyes who will have to catch on as undrafted free agents are Brandon Saine, Dexter Larimore, Justin Boren, Bryant Browning and perhaps Devin Barclay. Saine’s speed should intrigue some teams as a possible return man or special teams player. Boren and Browning will undoubtedly get a chance to become NFL walk-ons, since they compare favorably to some players who were drafted, like Michigan’s Steve Schilling. Boren has a nasty streak that NFL coaches love. Browning was solid, if unspectacular in college. Larimore plays a position of need as many NFL teams either have converted or are in the process of converting to a 3-4. Barclay was an accurate collegiate kicker, but he already has a job lined up in case he doesn’t get a crack at an NFL position.
Whoever you’re pulling for in the No Fun League, we hope your draft experience was a good one and that your team did some things that made you happy. Also, we hope that Sanzo doesn’t hurt your team too badly in the future (but he will).
Beating Michigan never gets old. In any sport.
The baseball Buckeyes needed extra innings twice on Saturday, but won
both games to complete a doubleheader sweep and a three-game weekend sweep of Michigan. It was the first time the Buckeyes have swept TTUN at Bill Davis Stadium and the first sweep of their arch-rivals in 15 years. Ohio State swept a B1G opponent for the first time since Iowa in May of 2009. Josh Desze sent the first game into extra innings with a two-run double in the ninth and Matt Streng’s infield single plated the winning run in the 11th inning of a 7-6 victory. Desze struck out the side in the top half of the inning, before Streng’s heroics. The Buckeyes grabbed the nightcap, 4-3 in 10 innings. Michigan erased a 3-1 deficit with two runs in the eighth, but Greg Solomon doubled in the 10th, took third on a bouncer by Tyler Engle and scored on a throwing error. It’s worth noting that the Buckeyes committed 11 errors in the series but still won. Ohio State is 19-18 overall and 9-6 in conference play.
Etcetera: The Tribe spent Friday and Saturday straight up trolling the Detroit Tigers. After a Carlos Santana walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth on Friday night, Orlando Cabrera singled home Michael Brantley with one out in the bottom of the 13th inning at Progressive Field on Saturday. Santana went deep on Saturday night as well. The Indians have won 12 straight home games and we demand the playoffs start today.