Football / Sports

Ohio State Buckeyes find new homes and roles with teams

BEREA, Ohio -- Ohio State might as well establish an eastern campus in Pittsburgh.

Enough former Buckeyes can be found on the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster.

Safety Will Allen, defensive end Cameron Heyward, offensive tackle Mike Adams and guard Bryant Browning already were on the Steelers' roster.

Add linebacker Ryan Shazier to the list. The Steelers selected him in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday with the 15th overall pick.

"That's great because when you have a lot of guys that you're comfortable around or who went through the same place you went through, it makes it feel like home that much better," Shazier told Steelers.com.

Roaming the Big Ten, Shazier posted 101 solo tackles (143 total for tops in the conference) including 22.5 for loss as a junior last season.

He was named a first-team Associated Press All-American in 2013, USA Today, ESPN.com and Sports Illustrated. He was also a Butkus Award finalist.

Some knocked his size (6-foot-1, 237 pounds), but the Steelers obviously saw enough to make him the ninth OSU linebacker to be selected in the draft.

Shazier played outside linebacker in college, but said that he expected to play inside with the Steelers. He believes he landed at the right spot.

"If you want to play linebacker, this is the place you want to go," he said. "If you play defense, this is the place you want to go. It's so much history here and it's just hard-nosed football in our conference and I can't wait to get started."

He's going to get his opportunity along with second-round draft choice, defensive end Stephen Truitt, if Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is to be believed.

"Sometimes in the past, we've been in a position where our draft choices don't necessarily have to play for a year or so. That is definitely not the case in this situation," LeBeau told the Beaver Falls Times News.

"Our depth is challenged. We've got two excellent football players who are going to add depth, if not (be) quality starters right away."

Shazier won't be the only person who gets a chance to play immediately.

The Indianapolis Colts spent their second-round pick on former Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort.

The Colts gave up 43 sacks in the 2013 season and their championship fortunes depend on keeping quarterback Andrew Luck healthy.

Mewhort brings size (6-6, 309 pounds), but more importantly, he brings versatility to the Colts.

"I think I just have an open mind and an ability to learn," Mewhort told the Indianapolis Star. "I think I catch on quickly. I'm not necessarily built like some of these freak left tackles out there. I've never been pegged as a guy like that.

"But through my career, I've shifted a lot. Even shotgun snapping (at Ohio State) and playing center in high school gave me a lot of experience. I think when all those things come together, in my brain I have all that knowledge, and I can apply it."

Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby, 5-11, 194 pounds, landed with the Denver Broncos, a team that needs defensive help despite a trip to the Super Bowl in February.

Broncos General Manager and Executive Vice President John Elway told reporters that some offensive players tempted him in the draft, but he chose Roby with the 31st pick in the first round because he thought Roby, despite past legal problems, would have the most impact.

Roby assured the Broncos that legal issues would not be a concern.

"These guys are not getting a guy you have to worry about off the field," he told the Denver Post. "I won't have any incidents like that. These past two incidents have really taught me about being aware out in public."

Despite having issues of his own off the field, Carlos Hyde, Ohio State's 6-4, 230-pound running back, found himself a spot with the San Francisco 49ers as their second-round choice, the No. 59 selection.

He likely endeared himself to 49ers fans with one simple statement. When asked to whom he compares himself, he answered Frank Gore, the 49ers' current back.

If he can show half the talent �" Gore has 9,967 rushing yards, 60 rushing touchdowns to go with 2,772 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns �" the team and its fans won't be disappointed.

Even 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, a Michigan alum, was able to choke down while picking a Buckeye.

"(He's) a fellow Big Ten-er," he told the NFL Network on Saturday.

The Green Bay Packers added Buckeyes center Corey Linsley with their fifth-round selection and the St. Louis Rams picked safety Christian Bryant in the seventh round.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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