Top ten highest drafted outside linebackers in Ohio State football history

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The 2021 NFL draft is over and we witnessed Justin Fields be selected in the first round, but the next highest former Buckeye drafted was outside linebacker Pete Werner in the second round. It got me thinking how many more outside linebackers in Ohio State history were drafted that high or higher.

To determine the highest-drafted outside linebackers was not as easy as quarterback, because a few of the players listed played defensive end at Ohio State, but were drafted with the intention of playing outside linebacker. Same with some of the players that primarily played on the inside during their NFL career as they were draft with the intent of playing on the outside.

A.J. Hawk- 1st Round, No. 5 Overall Pick in 2006

Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Hawk was an absolute force during his time as a Buckeye earning a national championship in 2002 as well as becoming a unanimous All-American both in 2004 and 2005. Hawk was selected in the first round by the Green Bay Packers and did not disappoint playing a role in their Super Bowl victory in 2011. He is still currently the franchise career tackle leader due to his strong career in Green Bay from 2006-2014. Hawk played 2015 with the Cincinnati Bengals and 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. https://twitter.com/NFL_Stats/status/1392867260277084165

Rick Middleton- 1st Round, No. 13 Overall Pick in 1974

Oct 2, 1971; Columbus, OH, USA,FILE PHOTO; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Rick Middleton (32) in action against California Golden Bears at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Middleton was a part of one of the best linebacking corps in Ohio State history with Randy Gradishar. In fact, Middleton was actually drafted ahead of Gradishar. The New Orleans Saints selected Middleton in the first round and he was a bit of a disappointment, playing for the Saints for just two seasons. He then spent three seasons with the San Diego Chargers.

Ryan Shazier- 1st Round, No. 15 Overall Pick in 2014

Dec 29, 2019; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ryan Shazier stands on the sideline during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, Ryan Shazier was forced to retire too soon, but he was a play-maker during his time in Columbus as evidenced by his 2013 All-American and All-Big Ten season. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Shazier in the first round and he continued his play-making ways in the NFL. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice during his NFL career, which lasted from 2014-2019. https://twitter.com/rarj13/status/1393766831027105795

Eric Kumerow - 1st Round, No. 16 Overall Pick in 1988

Nov 5, 1989; Miami, FL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Miami Dolphins linebacker (90) Eric Kumerow in action against the Indianapolis Colts at Joe Robbie Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Colts 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Photo By USA TODAY Sports © Copyright USA TODAY Sports

Eric Kumerow played defensive end during his days at Ohio State and even earned Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year honors in 1986. The former high school quarterback was named All-Big Ten and was also an All-American honorable mention. Kumerow was drafted in the first round by the Miami Dolphins to play linebacker and never started a game for them from 1988-1990. He was with the Chicago Bears in 1991 before suffering a career-ending injury. https://twitter.com/NFLResearch/status/1121573649641639936

Bobby Carpenter - 1st Round, No. 18 Overall Pick in 2006

Bobby Carpenter, Lancaster class of 2002, for his achievements during his high school and collegiate career, as well as his seven year NFL career. He was one of 10 people to be inducted into the Gary Mauller Lancaster High School Athletic Wall of Honor, recognizing their achievements and dedication.

Bobby Carpenter was a star for Ohio State and saw playing time early on as a Freshman. Carpenter was named All-Big Ten in 2004 and 2005. The Dallas Cowboys selected Carpenter in the first round and he was largely a journeyman playing in Dallas from 2006-2009, then with the St. Louis Rams in 2010, and the Miami Dolphins in 2010. He then played with the Detroit Lions from 2010-2011, and finally with the New England Patriots in 2012. https://twitter.com/RayGQue/status/1258606824955281409

Darron Lee - 1st Round, No. 20 Overall Pick in 2016

Nov 15, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Darron Lee (52) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Darron Lee was an integral part of the 2014 national championship team for Ohio State and even earned the Sugar Bowl Defensive MVP against Alabama. Lee made the transition to linebacker during his redshirt freshman season and never looked back. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the first round of 2016 and was a slight disappointment for them from 2016-2018. He was a Super Bowl champion with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 and was most recently with the Buffalo Bills in 2020. https://twitter.com/RichCimini/status/1379208623923007500

Bob Brudzinski - 1st Round, No. 23 Overall Pick in 1977

Sep 18, 1988; Miami, FL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Miami Dolphins linebacker Bob Brudzinski (59) in action against the Green Bay Packers at Joe Robbie Stadium. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Bob Brudzinski was a three-year starter at defensive end for the Buckeyes and All-Big Ten honors twice, receiving All-American honors once. The Los Angeles Rams took Brudzinski in the first round and immediately moved him to linebacker. There he earned All-Rookie honors. He was a star with the Rams from 1977-1980 and earned All-Pro honors in 1979. Brudzinski was traded to the Miami Dolphins and after he dominated in Miami from 1981-1989 and was named to the All-Time Dolphins team. https://twitter.com/akosnitzky/status/285795719233814529

Craig Powell - 1st Round, No. 30 Overall Pick in 1995

https://twitter.com/_CLEology/status/972175937260474369 Craig Powell was a stud for the Buckeyes, starting 33 games in his three years and earning All-Big Ten honors before declaring early for the NFL. The Cleveland Browns selected Powell in the first round before the team moved to Baltimore. Powell was with the Ravens in 1996 but struggled mightily due to injury and never gained his footing. He played with the New York Jets in 1998, which was his last in the NFL. Powell also played in the XFL for the San Francisco Demons in 2001.

James Laurinaitis - 2nd Round, No. 35 Overall Pick in 2009

Ohio State football G.O.A.T. linebackers - Buckeyes Wire
Ohio State football G.O.A.T. linebackers - Buckeyes Wire

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James Laurinaitis built an impressive résumé at Ohio State winning the Lott Trophy and Butkus Award in 2007. He was a Nagurski Trophy winner in 2006, two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, three-time All-American, and three-time All-Big Ten. He was drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Rams and was phenomenal immediately being named on the NFL All-Rookie team. He was with the Rams from 2009-2015 and was with the New Orleans Saints in 2016. https://twitter.com/ArmchairOhioSt/status/1023935904178728960

Pete Werner - 2nd Round, No. 60 Overall Pick in 2021

Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Pete Werner (20) watches as the ball falls to the ground after helping break up a pass intended for Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Pat Freiermuth (87) during the second quarter of a NCAA Division I college football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Pete Werner is another linebacker who was on the field since his freshman season, and as a junior was named as an honorable mention to the All-Big Ten team. He was also named All-Big Ten as a senior. Werner was selected in the second round by the New Orleans Saints and we have yet to see what the ferocious backer can do on Sundays. https://twitter.com/BarstoolOSU/status/1388301746007576576 [listicle id=50380] Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes and opinion.

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