Tue May 31 11:54am EDT
Now that Jim Tressel has resigned from what's turned out to be an amazingly dysfunctional Ohio State program, and five different OSU players prepare to serve their five-game suspensions for their parts in the unofficial but well-run "Swag for Tats and Cars" program, it's possible that the university could have more than a void at the head coach position on its hands — it's within the realm of possibility that anywhere from one to all five of those players could enter the 2011 NFL supplemental draft, creating that draft by their very interest, and putting one more league-sanctioned activity out there, lockout be damned.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello recently told Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange that the supplemental draft, like the 2011 "regular" draft, is covered in the previous CBA, and the NFL would therefore have a supplemental draft if there is a group of players. Several sources told Pasquarelli that the five OSU players in question will at least consider entering the supplemental draft. They'd have an early July deadline to consider, and there's no drop-dead date for a supplemental draft at this point. However, with the speculation that quarterback Terrelle Pryor has played his last game for any coach at Ohio State, the league might want to ramp up the system pretty soon.
Of course, Pryor is the big name among the five suspended players — the others are halfback Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, offensive tackle Mike Adams(notes), and defensive end Solomon Thomas. As a quarterback, Pryor has a second- to third-round grade by NFLDraftScout.com — but his real value might be as a receiver. Pryor has run a sub-4.4 40 at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, and comparisons have been made to San Diego Chargers star receiver Vincent Jackson(notes). Pryor has rushed for over 100 yards in nine different games through his Ohio State career.
"I am lower on Pryor's ability to transition to the NFL as a quarterback than our ranking indicates," Rob Rang of NFLDS recently told me. "I'd place a 4th-to-5th round grade on him as a quarterback and a 3rd round grade on him as an athlete. I do not see the physicality in his game to project him as a tight end at this time. I do believe he has the acceleration, size and body control to potentially convert to receiver, though his straight-line speed would obviously factor into his final grade."
Posey is a big-play threat with a second-round grade, Herron is NFLDraftScout's second-ranked senior running back behind Texas A&M's Cyrus Gray, Adams is a projected possible first-round pick (only Boise State's Nate Potter is ranked higher on NFLDS's senior tackle list), and Thomas is a potentially draftable player without the name recognition of his teammates. However, according to Rang, everything is not as it seems when it comes to supplemental draft prospect rankings, because a pick here equates to a lost pick in the same round next season, and there's generally less competition for players in the supplemental draft.
"Generally speaking, whatever grade a prospect receives is lowered by a round or two when it comes to the supplemental draft, simply because teams are so hesitant to give up next April's picks," Rang said.
According to Pasquarelli, Ohio State has produced 66 NFL players under Tressel, including 16 first-round picks. Tressel's legacy, dented though it may be, could see up to five more NFL graduates added to that list sooner than later.
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