As an Ohio State Alum, I fully relate to the craze that arises every year near Draft Day. You know what I’m talking about. Every story on ESPN is about who they believe is going to be the number 1 draft pick that year. Hoping that their player will get drafted and their little interview will be seen on a big scale, local news stations interview any candidate for the draft that grew up in the local area. We all eat it up, because at the end of the day, these young men were just college students trying to make a name for themselves in a difficult sport, and now they’re going to get paid millions of dollars for their hard work. It’s one variation of the American Dream. Plus, if you get paid to play a sport, there’s a good chance fame will come along with it. However, some college football players were making headlines before the draft day even arrived. Some for positive reasons, and others… well, not so much.
Take a look at my list of some of the top draft picks for this 2016 NFL season, and remember their names because I bet it’s not the last you see of them.
10. Ronnie Stanley – OL – Baltimore Ravens
As I mentioned above, I am an Ohio State fan, so I hadn’t heard too much about Ronnie Stanley prior to draft season. However, according to a few sources his work ethic may have been questioned prior to being signed. Fortunately, the 6th pick of the 2016 draft overcame these doubts. He officially signed with the Baltimore Ravens, with a signing bonus of over $13 million. He clearly found his motivation to work harder right there.
9. Jalen Ramsey – DB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Said to have natural intelligence and movement when it comes to making plays, Jalen Ramsey will be a big attribute to the Jaguars next season. Ramsey actually changed positions on his college football team after his freshman year, but according to his coach at the time this didn’t prove to be a problem for him. He clearly has the ability to be a diverse player on the field, and the confidence off the field to stay the center of attention this fall. I’m just saying it would be a good idea to watch what he can do for his team!
8. Eli Apple – CB – New York Giants
As the first Buckeye on this list, I personally know what it is like to watch Eli Apple play for your team. Let me tell you, the New York Giants are in for a treat. Going 10th overall in the draft is amazing, so you already know that he has skills. Beyond his amazing athletic abilities stands Eli’s mom, Annie Apple, who made headlines recently for using her social media to inform young women that they should stop trying to get attention from NFL Rookies via social media and start striving for something more worth their time. In other words, she thinks you should keep away from her son and those like him who are just trying to focus on work. They don’t need to get trapped this early on in their careers. Good for you, Annie Apple. Good for you too, Eli Apple, because with a mom who is teaching you to stay smart and focus, you’ll be more prepared for what the world will throw at you. Good luck with your NFL career, and we look forward to your mom commenting on your behalf.
7. Jared Goff – QB – LA Rams
First draft pick overall, Jared Goff is entering the NFL as the quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, which is enough to be interesting in itself. As a current inhabitant of Los Angeles, I can tell you that everyone is excited about this possibility. We are all so ready to have a professional football team, but knowing Jared’s general reputation of being focused, relatively laid back, and hard working, things are looking good for the LA Rams arrival. Oh, did I mention that the LA Rams have already been scheduled to be featured on HBO’s docu-series, Hard Knocks? Nothing says low key and focused like being the star of a docu-series as well as being the incoming quarterback to a team switching cities. All Jared will have to do is avoid the temptations that often arise in LA… but that won’t be so hard, right?
6. Carson Wentz – QB – Philadelphia Eagles
Many aspects lead to the conclusion that Carson Wentz will be all over our social media feeds in the upcoming months. These reasons don’t even include the fact that he’s a recent college graduate who just signed a 4-year, $26.6 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. The money alone would entice a young man to be a little reckless, but Carson Wentz can’t afford to lose focus. His name has been thrown around quite a bit recently because he will be competing for his spot on the team against veteran quarterback Sam Bradford. While the Eagle’s coach seems to admit that Bradford will be their starter, many are speculating that this shouldn’t be the case. Regardless of who is actually starting, you have to imagine that tensions are high in that locker room. Carson Wentz is looking at an uphill battle, and it will be a compelling one at that. For his sake I hope that everyone acts maturely, but that makes for less fascinating headlines, doesn’t it?
5. Leonard Floyd – LB – Chicago Bears
As Leonard Floyd starts his career in the NFL, he has already been in the news… but for a very peculiar reason. According to a few news outlets, Leonard Floyd has to be reminded to eat often throughout the day in order to meet weight-gaining goals. No, I didn’t miss type that. He literally is being forced to follow a meal schedule with set alarms on his phone because he has a fast metabolism and gaining some weight would please his coaches. It’s a weird reason to be getting so much attention, but at least he is embracing his new work demands.
4. Joey Bosa – DE – San Diego Chargers
As a Buckeye alum, I feel it is my responsibility to prepare you all for the gift to this world that is Joey Bosa. I happen to follow him on Twitter, and let me tell you, he is quite entertaining. With the exception of a targeting penalty that cost Joey Bosa the final game of his college career, this guy has been one of the leaders of the OSU team due to his amazing blocking and ability to make plays happen. After hearing about his amazing performance at his rookie mini-camp in San Diego, it is clear he is going to stir things up in the NFL. Such a powerful force can’t be stopped, and I’m excited to hear more about his new life in San Diego throughout the upcoming months.
3. Laremy Tunsil – OT – Miami Dolphins
For an entirely different reason than Eli Apple, Laremy Tunsil was also a main focus on social media right as the draft started. Unfortunately for Laremy, at that point he probably would have wanted his mom to help defend his honor. Laremy Tunsil’s name was thrown around right before the draft when a video appeared on his personal Twitter account of the star athlete smoking out of a bong. He was unaware said video was posted (according to his own account of the incident) and had to watch as his expectations of being in the top few draft picks slid farther and farther away. On the upside, the Miami Dolphins came to their senses and invited him to join their team not too far into the draft, a move that Laremy probably didn’t expect but now probably really admires.
Here’s the lesson, folks: Don’t take those pictures or videos if you’re trying to sign a deal for millions of dollars based on your athletic abilities. Where there’s one public mistake, let’s hope there aren’t many more in hiding…
2. Deforest Buckner – DE – San Francisco 49ers
A name you may have heard associated with great skill, Deforest Buckner was drafted No. 7 overall this year. He will be starting his career as a San Francisco 49er. As far as scandal, I believe he has stayed fairly clean, but he’s going to be playing football for a city full of other great athletes, including some old teammates. According to some articles, he is extremely excited to reunite with these old friends, and everybody is excited to see what he can do.
1. Ezekiel Elliott – RB – Dallas Cowboys
Buckeye fans will all remember Ezekiel Elliott as the happy-go-lucky guy who tried to catch confetti in his mouth on National TV after winning the National Championship. He is also the young man who lost a football game and blamed the horrible loss on poor play calling by his coach, Urban Meyer. We all make mistakes, but that isn’t a great look for anybody. You’re supposed to stand by your coach’s decisions and publicly be a team player. Ezekiel has enough of a fan base, due in large part to how well he pulls off a crop top, that this wasn’t a major set back. He officially signed to the Dallas Cowboys for a very hefty amount of money. Let’s see what else the goofy, amazingly talented Ezekiel Elliott has in store for us.