Early indications are that Ohio State will rebound in the 2014 NFL draft after only three players were taken this year. Cornerback Bradley Roby decided to stay for his junior season, his fourth year at Ohio State, and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projects him as the ninth-best player available. Roby has already said this season will be his last at Ohio State.
Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier has not declared his intentions, but Kiper has him at No. 26. Senior running back Carlos Hyde will earn some serious early-round interest if he stays healthy and tops 1,000 yards, and left tackle Jack Mewhort and left guard Andrew Norwell are seen as players whose stock could rise. Other Buckeyes who might be drafted include receiver Corey Brown, who had a 60-catch junior season, running back Jordan Hall, and safeties C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant.
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller is a different case. Some scoff at the notion that Miller, whose passing is a work in progress, would be ready to leave early, but Ohio State insiders continue to say that he will consider it if he improves enough.
Drew Pomeranz, the former Cleveland Indians pitching prospect now in the Colorado Rockies’ system, is knocking on the door again after struggling to a 2-9 record in 22 starts in 2012.
Since being sent to triple-A Colorado Springs to start the season, Pomeranz is 4-0 with a 3.51 ERA in six starts and has 40 strikeouts and 12 walks in 331/3 innings. Command was an issue last season, along with Pomeranz’s lack of a solid third pitch to complement his fastball and curve. Reports say his change-up is improved and command of his curveball is much better. The Indians sent Pomeranz, the fifth overall draft pick in 2010, and pitcher Alex White to Colorado in 2010 for pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.Juan Nicasio and Jeff Francis are struggling to hold onto spots in the Colorado rotation, so Pomeranz may get the call soon.
Kyle Allen, a quarterback from Scottsdale, Ariz., who recently received a scholarship offer from Ohio State, also got one from Notre Dame when freshman Gunner Kiel transferred. Both schools are behind UCLA, Oklahoma State, Arizona and Arizona State with the timing of their offers, but Allen told the South Bend Tribune that won’t hurt either school.
“It’s just these teams wanted to see me develop,” Allen said. “That’s what coach (Urban) Meyer said from Ohio State. He said (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks) coach (Tom) Herman saw me in the spring last year, loved what he saw, but I’m not a college quarterback yet. So he wanted to see me develop. I could develop into nothing and be the same thing as last year. He wanted me to develop. I respect him for that.”
Allen said he anticipates a summertime decision.
The Cleveland Browns have hired former Ohio State football player Kevin Griffin as vice president of fan experience and marketing. Griffin, who lettered at Ohio State from 1995 to ’98, is a Columbus native and the nephew of Ohio State’s two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie. Kevin comes to Cleveland from Seattle, where he was director of fan development with the Seattle Seahawks and Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders since 2004.
Consecutive ninth-inning homers by Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo that gave the Cincinnati Reds an exciting win over the Atlanta Braves this week and took Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman so by surprise that he forgot to end the game with his signature call, “And this one belongs to the Reds.”
Brennaman told reporters that producer Dave “Yid” Armbruster let him know as soon as he went to commercial break.
“Within five seconds, Yid said, ‘Guess what you forgot to say?’ ” Brennaman said. “When I came back on, I said, ‘For those of you who are concerned or about to pick up the phone and call, I forgot to say it. I know I did.’ Then I said it. I would have never known I didn’t say it. I was so caught in the moment. That’s the kind of thing that shocks you.”
CBS Sports’ senior college football columnist Dennis Dodd picked Ohio State to win the national championship next season. “The Buckeyes are favored for now mostly because of what they don’t have to do,” Dodd wrote. “They don’t have to play an SEC schedule — unlike Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. That makes a second consecutive undefeated season more likely. The Bucks believed they deserved a spot against Alabama a few months ago.
“Their 12-game winning streak is the longest in the country. Their coach is a wily, motivational top-five tactician. A defense that was holding on for dear life at times last season is stronger.”
Dodd picked Alabama No. 2 and Texas A&M No. 3.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam apologized to fans this week for the distraction caused by his legal troubles while speaking at a banquet for the Northeastern Ohio chapter of the National Football Foundation. Speaking to media afterward, Haslam did not answer questions regarding his knowledge of purported fraud at Pilot Flying J, where he is CEO.
Privately, many around the NFL are saying it might be difficult for Haslam to keep the Browns, mostly because he might be ensnared by numerous lawsuits and legal actions that could drain his finances. Several already have been filed against the company.
Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.