NFL Draft

It’s the 2016 NFL Draft, brought to you by Ohio State

By Jordan Ray

Four years ago, Joey Bosa, Darron Lee, Eli Apple and Ezekiel Elliott took a picture together during an Ohio State football game. They were visiting the school as high school seniors on a recruiting trip.

“I was, like, 16 in that picture,” Apple said. “I just remember it was really cold that game. (Ohio State) put up a lot of points. It was, like, 63-20. Very great game. Very entertaining.”

The group led a massive class of 12 Buckeyes chosen in the 2016 NFL Draft that ended Saturday in Chicago.

“That’s what is expected from Ohio State,” Elliott said. “That’s why we all went to the Ohio State University, because we knew we were going to be prepared to play at the next level.”

Ohio State holds the record with 14 selected in the 2004 draft.

Among those chosen in 2016, Ohio State had five picked in the top 20 (Bosa, Elliott, Apple, Lee and Taylor Decker), including three in the top 10 (Bosa, Elliott and Apple).

“Nobody has higher expectations for ourselves than we do,” Bosa said. “Me and Zeke and Darron would always laugh about (being) first-rounders, (saying) ‘Hey, we’re going to be first-rounders one day.’ Here we are.”

Bosa, a defensive end, was the first Buckeye taken. San Diego picked him with the third overall pick.

“Right after I got called, we all shared a good moment,” Bosa said. “Big hug. I was crying like a baby, of course.”

Five more Buckeyes were picked on Day 2 (Michael Thomas, Vonn Bell, Adolphus Washington, Braxton Miller and Nick Vannett), breaking the record for the most players (10) taken in the first three rounds.

The record for Rounds 1-3 had been eight, set by Tennessee in 2000. It’s also one more than the entire Big 12 conference had selected during that timespan.

The final two Buckeyes went on Day 3. First, the Chargers took linebacker Joshua Perry fourth in the fourth round — with Bosa announcing the pick for their new team.

“He’s one of the hardest workers I know,” Bosa told Chargers.com. “An amazing leader. A physical freak. He’s a big, huge guy at the linebacker position and helped our defense tremendously over the past three years. He’ll do that here in San Diego. It’s a steal for sure to get him in the fourth round.”

The Bills took quarterback Cardale Jones with the final pick of the fourth round.

That gave Ohio State 12 picks for the first four rounds, also an NFL record for one school. That’s three more then the mark held by the 2004 and 2006 Buckeyes.

Despite winning the national title last year, Alabama had seven.

“I’m happy for those Ohio State guys,” said Alabama’s Reggie Ragland, who went to Buffalo in the second round. “We got real close during this process and (Ezekiel Elliott) told me it’s a hard few days for him. We joke about it right now,
but I’m not mad about it.”

Photo at top: Ezekiel Elliot takes the NFL Draft red carpet Thursday night. Elliot was the second of 12 Ohio State players selected during the three day draft. (Lena Blietz/MEDILL)

To play or not to play? NFL & USA Football advise parents

By EmmaKate Austin and Lena Blietz

ESPN’s Mike Golic, co-host of Mike and Mike, and his wife, Chris Golic, led a panel discussion for parents about the safety of youth football and other sports. The NFL’s Play 60 teamed up with USA Football for the event, where kids participated in an hour of football drills while their parents attended the panel. Panelists included Bears tight end Zach Miller and former offensive tackle James “Big Cat” Williams.

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NFL Draft Day 3: Northwestern’s Danny Vitale to the Bucs

By Chris Hayre and Adam Rossow

With the 197th pick of the NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Northwestern’s Danny Vitale. The All-Big Ten second team fullback helped the Wildcats reach the Outback Bowl. He was ranked as one of the top three fullback prospects in the draft.

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Draft Town day 3: Mother nature isn’t a football fan

By Nicole Sedivy

Rain or shine, the draft must go on.

Day three of the NFL Draft took place outdoors at Selection Square in Draft Town. But the weather didn’t cooperate. The National Weather Service reported an afternoon temperature of 47 degrees and rain. That didn’t stop every fan from attending. Some die hard football fanatics braved the weather to see their team pick the next future stars.

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Reality check: Fans get closer than ever to athletes with virtual technology

By Erin Barney

Sean Smith watched Paxton Lynch’s perfect spiral fly over his head and hit a receiver in stride. There was grass under his feet and Lynch’s trainers to his left and right. When he looked up, he swore he could feel the Memphis sun.

But then the STRIVR goggles came off, and it was back to reality. A much colder, rainier Chicago reality.

Smith, 44, was one of thousands of fans in the NFL’s Draft Town Saturday to enter a virtual world. A Palo Alto, California-based virtual reality company, STRIVR, lets fans get an up-close and personal encounter with the players. The goggles offered a 360-degree view of Jaylon Smith’s workout or a look at the defensive line from Shaq Lawson’s vantage point. Continue reading

NFL Draft Round 4: First Northwestern player off the board

By Chris Hayre and Adam Rossow

The first Northwestern player of the 2016 NFL Draft has been selected. With pick No. 137, the Green Bay Packers picked up Northwestern defensive end Dean Lowry. Lowry was a standout for Pat Fitzgerald and his Wildcats in Evanston for the past four years.

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Bay Watch: Northwestern’s Vitale heads to Bucs, Lowry to Packers

By Tolly Taylor

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t just draft Danny Vitale in the sixth round Saturday.

They drafted Danny Vitale, Superback.

“It sounds like they want to play me as their fullback and as a second tight end as well,” said Vitale, a hybrid “superback” at Northwestern. “That’s what I did in college, so I think they’ll utilize my skill set the way that’ll be a big advantage to them.” Continue reading

NFL Draft Round 4: Bears pick 3

By Adam Rossow and Chris Hayre

The Chicago Bears took advantage of their three picks in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. The team selected three defensive players, giving them the opportunity to rebuild their defense this year.

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NFL Draft Day 3: Picks move out to Selection Square

By Chris Hayre and Adam Rossow

The third and final day of the NFL Draft has begun. The picks are being announced today, despite the rain and cold in Chicago, from Selection Square, an outdoor venue located in Draft Town. Adam Rossow and Chris Hayre will talk about the big storylines to follow today, including several Northwestern players slated to be drafted and seven picks to be made by the Chicago Bears.

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NFL Draft Day 2: Bears put it all on the line

A Medill Sports Production

On day two of the NFL Draft in Chicago, the Medill NFL Draft team was out in the field reporting on all the action of the day. Hall of Famers took to the red carpet, NFL Draft Town was abuzz with fanatic fans and top prospects got picked up in Rounds 2 and 3 of the draft. The Medill team breaks it all down.

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