Five hidden Ohio State football NFL Draft gems since 2000

The Ohio State football team has had plenty of top-tier talent head to the NFL over the years. They've also had quite a few hidden gems. Here are some of the best.
Dec 17, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17)
Dec 17, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The Ohio State football program is judged on how many players they produce in the NFL year after year. Most of the players that are drafted are done so with high picks. There have been plenty of Buckeyes who have been really good players after being first-round picks.

Then there are some Buckeyes who weren't drafted as highly but have still been good players. Those hidden gems are guys that GMs love because they didn't have to use a lot of draft capital to get them. These guys just show up and do their job at a high level.

Since 2000, there have been five hidden gems that I want to highlight who were former Ohio State football players. None of these players were first-round picks but all of them had long and successful NFL careers. They were still really good players.

The first player had the longest career of anyone on this list.

5. Mike Nugent, K

Mike Nugent was about as automatic as it gets from a kicker standpoint. When he was with the Ohio State football team, it seemed like he was going to make every single kick. He was a member of Ohio State's 2002 national championship team that took down Miami.

Nugent was a very high draft pick for a kicker, being taken in the second round by the New York Jets in the 2005 NFL Draft. He was the highest kicker drafted in that year. He deserved it too. Nugent was a weapon for a long time in the NFL after that for multiple teams.

Nugent played for ten different teams in his NFL career that spanned 16 seasons. He played his last season for the Arizona Cardinals in 2020. It's rare to have an NFL career go that long, even for kickers. But that's a testament to how good Nugent was at his craft.

As far as hidden gems go, this is a good one. To have a 16-year NFL after being a second-round pick I'd say is pretty darn good. Nugent got to play in a lot of different cities and made a lot of money from different franchises. That's a pretty good living.

The next player on this list was a sixth-round pick but won multiple titles.