Sunday, April 27, 2003

Five Buckeyes drafted

Better late than never for national champs

The Associated Press

Winning the national championship didn't help Ohio State players on draft day. NFL draft-eligible Buckeyes waited through nearly two rounds Saturday before the Indianapolis Colts selected safety Michael Doss with the 58th pick.

iIn the third round, defensive lineman Kenny Peterson was picked by the Green Bay Packers and linebacker Cie Grant went to the New Orleans Saints.

Linebacker Matt Wilhelm and safety Donnie Nickey had to wait till Sunday. Wilhelm was drafted in the fourth round by the San Diego Chargers. Nickey was taken in the fifth round by the Tennessee Titans.

A first-team All-American last season, the hard-hitting Doss possibly slipped into the second round because scouts had called his pass coverage ability into question.

But the Colts were happy to get him, convinced the 5-foot-11, 204-pound Doss can make plays.

"We think he'll be a big-play player for us who runs and hits, and he has that toughness we were looking for," Colts coach Tony Dungy said.

Doss said he was looking forward to playing in Indianapolis - just a three-hour drive from Ohio State - and felt the Colts were close to making the same type of championship run that the Buckeyes made in 2002.

"I look at them, and they're one or two games away from making a run at the Super Bowl, and I can't wait to come in and start to jell with them," Doss said.

In three games last season Doss had at least 13 tackles, including 13 in the 14-9 victory over Michigan that clinched the Buckeyes' berth in the Fiesta Bowl.

"He is what we call a blow-up guy," said Colts team president Bill Polian said. "He has was what we call thump-and-punch."

Doss set up Ohio State's first touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl with a 35-yard interception return - one of several big defensive plays that keyed the Buckeyes 31-24 double-overtime win over Miami.

Peterson had three tackles for a loss, including two sacks, and a forced fumble in the Fiesta Bowl.

The 6-4, 290-pounder thrived as a senior after making the move from end to tackle. He started 12 of 14 games last season, tallying 43 tackles and six sacks.

After helping Canton McKinley win a state title in 1997 and Ohio State rise to national champion last year, Peterson said he was eager to achieve a championship trifecta.

"I would like to come to Green Bay and contribute and win a world championship," he said.

At 6-1, 220 pounds, Grant likely is too small to play linebacker in the NFL and could be switched to safety - the position he played as a freshman with the Buckeyes.

Grant moved to linebacker in his sophomore year, became a cornerback as a junior and went back to linebacker as a senior - capping his season with a play that sealed Ohio State's championship.

On fourth-and-goal at the 1, Grant blitzed Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey and forced an incompletion on the Fiesta Bowl's final play.

Wilhelm, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound middle linebacker, led the Buckeyes with 121 tackles and 191/2 tackles for losses last season.

The first-team All-American also had 10 tackles in the Fiesta Bowl against Miami and broke up a pass on the last play of Ohio State's 31-24 double-overtime win.

Nickey made 67 tackles last season as an Ohio State co-captain and started his final 48 games for the Buckeyes.

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