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Monday, July 4, 2022

Six Former Ohio State Players, Led By Joey Bosa, Make NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2021

Six former Ohio State players made this year’s edition of the NFL’s Top 100.

This year’s countdown of the league’s best 100 players, as voted on by NFL players themselves and televised by NFL Network, includes six NFL stars who played their college football at Ohio State: Joey Bosa, Cam Heyward, Corey Linsley, Chase Young, Michael Thomas and Marshon Lattimore.

Bosa is the highest-ranked Buckeye on this year’s list at No. 32 – two spots higher than last year – after making the Pro Bowl for the third time in four years in 2020. He’s made the countdown after all five of his seasons in the league.

Heyward checks in at No. 57 on this year’s countdown, jumping 27 spots up the list and making the NFL’s Top 100 for the fifth time in his career, after another standout season for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020 in which he earned second-team All-Pro honors and made his fourth straight Pro Bowl.

Linsley makes his first-ever NFL Top 100 appearance this year, coming in at No. 60 in the rankings, after earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2020 as the league’s best center. Linsley signed a five-year, $62.5 million contract with the Chargers this offseason after spending the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers.

Young also makes his debut on the countdown after a spectacular rookie season with the Washington Football Team in which he earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and made the Pro Bowl after recording 12.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and four pass breakups. He’s ranked as the NFL’s 61st-best player after just one year in the league.

Thomas, who was ranked as the NFL’s fifth-best player on the 2020 edition of the Top 100, dropped to 72nd on this year’s list after he was plagued by an ankle injury last season. After breaking the NFL’s single-season reception record in 2019, Thomas had just 40 catches for 438 yards and zero touchdowns during the 2020 regular season, and he’s expected to miss the start of the 2021 season while recovering from surgery on that same ankle.

His former Ohio State and current Saints teammate Marshon Lattimore rounds out the Buckeyes on this year’s NFL Top 100, as he was selected as the league’s 86th-best player entering the 2021 season. He dropped 10 spots on the list from 2020, but nonetheless made the Top 100 for the third time in four NFL seasons.

It’s the second year in a row that Ohio State has had six players on the list. Two Buckeyes who made the top 25 in 2020, Nick Bosa (No. 17) and Ezekiel Elliott (No. 24), were left out of the top 100 this year; Bosa played in just two games last season before tearing his ACL, while Elliott ran for a career-low 979 yards last year.

With six Buckeyes on the list, Ohio State is tied with LSU for the second-most players in the top 100. Alabama leads all schools with seven players on the list, including running back Derrick Henry, who is among the top 10 players whose rankings will be revealed during the final episode of this year’s countdown next Sunday.

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