When it comes to Big 10 football, Ohio State has been the best team in recent memory. Under the leadership of great college coaches such as Jim Tressel, Woody Hayes and now Urban Meyer, they have consistently excelled, certifying themselves in the upper echelon of the college football universe. Naturally, this also means that they usually have a bevy of players selected in the NFL Draft, where there's been a healthy mix of success and failure. Just like most other top NCAA programs, there's never a surefire method to produce great NFL players that always live up to high draft picks, and the Buckeyes are no different than anyone else.
So inevitably, there have been some cringeworthy NFL busts to come out of the program over the years. Some of them have been entertaining, and others have been downright sad. It doesn't really hurt Ohio State's legacy, but it does serve as a timely reminder that there is no such thing as a surefire NFL draft pick, no matter the position they were selected in. Let's take a look at the most disappointing Buckeyes who donned a uniform in the pro ranks over the years.
Ranked below are the 15 Ohio State Buckeyes who were the biggest busts in the NFL.
15 Ahmed Plummer
One of the most anticipated cornerback selections in the 2000 draft, Plummer was taken 24th overall by the 49ers, and was slotted in as a starter immediately for his rookie season. Outside of one stellar season the year after that, Plummer was a disappointment on the whole of it, lasting six mostly mediocre seasons in the league before retiring at the end of 2005. Corners taken in the first round should at least play consistently, even if they aren't a shutdown player, but Plummer proved that was either of those things in San Francisco. Definitely one of the biggest letdowns for Ohio State cornerback in the last 20 years. Plummer just could never cut it in the pros, outside of that one outlier season.
14 Chris Wells
Wells had two awesome seasons at Ohio State in 2007 and 2008 respectively, and looked primed to be a first-round running back that would live up to the hype. He was indeed taken in the first round at 31st overall by the Cardinals, but he never materialized into the lead running back that they thought he could be. Out of four seasons in the NFL, all in Arizona, Wells notched 1,000 yards on the ground just one time, and was largely an anonymous player around the league for the rest of his time in it. He ran with poor vision for the pro level, and was done with the NFL after the 2012 season. The Cardinals have gone on to much better runners in the meantime, and Wells is remembered as a Buckeye great only.
13 David Boston
One of the biggest wide receiver misses of his era, Boston was supposed to be one of the best players in the 1999 draft. He was coming off two seasons at Ohio State where he dominated as a pass-catcher, and looked to be a truly dynamic prospect that could be an elite receiver even in the pros. With that, he was taken at ninth overall in 1999 by the Cardinals. It wasn't all bad, as Boston did notch two really good campaigns in 2000 and 2001, the latter of which he received All-Pro honors for. But some off-the-field problems and a general lack of productivity over his final three seasons in the league ultimately sunk him down to bust status. As a top ten pick, he certainly didn't live up to the expectations, and left many fans wondering how dominant he really could have been in the pros. It just wasn't in the cards though, and Boston retired after the 2005 season, which he spent with the Dolphins.
12 Bobby Carpenter
Before the Cowboys demonstrated a distinct plan in the NFL Draft by consistently addressing their offensive line, they were making picks like this one, busting on defensive players on the regular. Carpenter was a great linebacker at Ohio State, but never translated into the pros, starting just 10 games in seven seasons. As an 18th overall pick, this one hurt Dallas without any question, as he simply was never able to live up to the hype. The fact he was a Buckeye in the first place probably helped Carpenter's draft stock rise, as Jim Tressel was one of the most popular college coaches in the country during that time, and his crop of talent was seen as superior to many others. An overall poor first round pick by Dallas, who would make several others along these lines before getting it together.
11 Anthony Gonzalez
In truth, Gonzalez was probably a reach at 32nd overall, even for the time in 2007. He posted good, but not-great numbers as a Buckeye, yet the Colts saw fit to draft him anyway as a first round selection. As a pro, Gonzalez spent five years in Indy, and posted nothing better than middling numbers. After a while, his production was almost nonexistent. Again, it's arguable that he even produced in college to the level that most other first round picks have, but he was still taken very early, and it has to be considered a letdown, particularly when you add on to all of it that he had Peyton Manning in his prime throwing him the ball for most of his tenure. It's not so much that Gonzalez flamed out, but he never really got going in the first place. Still, he's an NFL bust at the draft position he was taken at, no doubt about it.
10 Craig Powell
Powell came into the league as a shaky time, and was drafted by a team that would soon be leaving town. The Browns drafted him at 30th overall in 1995, the final season they were to play in Cleveland under their original ownership. Powell didn't really have to worry about it, though, because he barely got into any games during his three years in the league, and barely registered a single statistic. He retired after the 1997 season, and just like that, he was out of the league. At 30th overall, he had some leeway to have a career that wasn't stocked to the brim with Pro Bowl selections, but to not start a single game in three seasons is nothing less than a complete disappointment. Powell would be just one of many bad draft picks by the Browns over the last 25 years.
9 Rickey Dudley
Had he been a mid-round pick, Dudley's NFL production would have sufficed, and it would have an overall positive selection. At ninth overall however, he simply didn't fit the bill. Granted, he did spend nine years in the league, but other than one or two of those seasons, he wasn't a standout tight end, and remained somewhat anonymous during his time with three different teams. There's no question he was a reach at the number nine pick; he played just two years at Ohio State, and his numbers were only good for one of those years. Nonetheless, the Raiders took him at that spot in the 1996 draft, and all in all, it was a mistake. It's hard to call Dudley a terrible player, but just about everyone was hoping for more out of him than he provided at such a high position in the draft.
8 Bobby Hoying
For a brief amount of time in 1997 or so, Hoying looked like he was going to be a decent NFL quarterback. Then, the wheels fell of and he never recovered. He was a third round pick of the Eagles in 1996, and since he was fresh off a great 1995 season with the Buckeyes, Philly probably thought they were getting a pretty good deal on him. That just wasn't the case. Hoying spent three years as a spot starter with the Eagles, then went to the Raiders for two seasons as a backup before retiring. Despite being drafted in the third round, the outlook for him coming into the NFL was relatively high, and he can definitely be chalked up as a letdown. At that time, Big 10 quarterbacks were expected to fare better in the pro game, and Hoying certainly didn't accomplish that.
7 Brian Robiskie
A second round pick for the Browns in 2009, Robiskie produced absolutely horribly, even though he wasn't a first-rounder. After his first couple of seasons with backup-level numbers, he could barely get on the field, even as he transitioned to Detroit and Atlanta for his final two seasons in the NFL. At the worst, second round picks should provide stability, and Robiskie was anything but that, clearly not being able to pick up the NFL game as a receiver. He retired after the 2013 season, but he gets lost in the shuffle of all of the other terrible selections by Cleveland during this time. For a player who was a versatile threat as a Buckeye, he never lived up to the hype in the pros.
6 Andy Katzenmoyer
As far as overlooked first round busts got, Katzenmoyer is right up there at the top of the list for his era. A 28th-overall pick by the Patriots in 1999, he was coming off two amazing seasons at Ohio State, which saw him become one of the best defensive players in the Big 10. He was one of the most anticipated defensive players in the draft, but only played one full season in the pros, after opting to retire after an injury to his neck the following season. Had he stayed on the field, who knows? He could have been an integral part of the New England defense that notched Tom Brady his first couple of Super Bowl rings. As it stands, he's one of the biggest "what if?" players of his generation. And while he was a bust in the pros, he was definitely one of the best Ohio State players of his time, though.
5 Ted Ginn
Yes, Ginn is still going strong, now signed by the Saints, which feels like the 10th team he's played for in his career. Strictly as a deep threat receiver, he actually isn't too bad, as he can certainly stretch the field and make defenses pay attention to him. However, as a receiver taken ninth overall as he was in 2007 by the Dolphins, he's a disappointing player whose accomplishments start to come up short. No one ever denied that Ginn had, and still has blazing speed, but he was never able to master the nuances of playing the receiver position at the next level, and it's cost many teams who have picked him up expecting something different. Instead, Ginn is merely a garden-variety player who has the speed of an elite one. That has kept him in the league so long, and keeps giving teams a reason to sign him.
4 Eric Kumerow
Kumerow was expected to be one of the premier pass rushers available in the 1988 draft, and the Dolphins thought so too when they took him at 16th overall. After three seasons in the league, all in Miami, he had totaled just five sacks, and retired at the age of 25. That's a bust any way you slice it. Interestingly enough, none other than Joey Bosa is his nephew, and has already eclipsed his career sack total, in just 12 games played during his rookie campaign last season. No doubt, Kumerow is one of the biggest defensive draft busts of his era, and also one of the biggest in the history of the Buckeyes. Just a massive letdown all the way around.
3 Devin Smith
After being taken in the second round of the 2015 draft by the Jets, it was expected that Smith would hop right into the receiving corps, and start producing almost right away. Well, two years later, and he would have to do a lot to remove the "bust" tag from his name. He barely gets on the field for the Jets, and is barely hanging on the roster. Contrast that with his four years at Ohio State, where he looked like he would be a very good NFL receiver, and he's really one of the bigger busts at the position in recent memory. Smith is a disappointment indeed, and probably the most significant wide receiver bust in the history of Ohio State football.
2 Tom Cousineau
Cousineau was taken first overall in the NFL draft by the Bills in 1979, but he never played a snap in the league until 1982, spending the interim seasons in the CFL. He was then picked up by the Browns, where he spent four of his six NFL seasons in the 1980s. No doubt, Cousineau wasn't a bad player, but the first-overall label he had slapped on him did ultimately make him a bust. He was on the shor list for best defensive players in Ohio State history, which further cemented him as an underwhelming presence in the NFL, when everybody thought he was going to be so much more. Instead, he was just a so-so player, and retired a bit early, never matching the lofty expectations that the football world had for him. Even still, he's not the biggest disappointment in Buckeyes history. That honor would go to...
1 Art Schlichter
Despite playing in a different era than the modern quarterback, Schlichter is unquestionably one of the biggest disappointments at the position of all-time, and easily the biggest letdown for Ohio State alumni who were prospective NFL players. He was drafted in 1982 after three great seasons as a Buckeye, and the Colts entrusted their fourth overall selection in order to gain him as their new franchise quarterback. Schlichter had trouble adapting to the NFL game almost immediately, and he sputtered out almost instantaneously in the three games he appeared in for that season. A year-long suspension for gambling followed in 1983, and when he returned to the Colts for two more seasons after that, it just confirmed the suspicion that he wasn't cut out to be an NFL quarterback. No question, Schlichter is a quarterback bust deluxe, and it was a pick that really hurt the Colts at the time. Definitely not a good look for Ohio State in that era.