Three of the four Ohio State NFL draftees had to pass muster after being involved in the Buckeyes' Tattoogate fiasco.
Plus, offensive tackle Mike Adams almost scuttled any chance he had of landing in the NFL after testing positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in February.
But when Adams reached out to the Steelers - his favorite team while growing up in western Pennsylvania - for a remorseful second chance, the Pittsburgh brass agreed, but with strings attached.
Adams knew he "screwed up,'' but convinced the Steelers enough that they selected him in the second round, acknowledging Adams' past transgressions, but truly believing he's trying to clean up his act.
Adams had received a "first-round grade" during his initial evaluation because of his size and agility until the Steelers backed off, although admitting Adams had ''a size combination (6-7, 323 pounds) that's tough to beat at the tackle position," said offensive line coach Sean Kugler then.
In the third round, the Houston Texans chose OSU's DeVier Posey, despite the 6-3, 209-pound wide receiver playing in only three games last year, as he served two five-game suspensions in the tangled Tattoogate web.
An extensive background check left Houston confident about Posey's character. "We checked with whoever we could and we all felt pretty comfortable that he got caught up in a situation, made a mistake, but learned from it, worked hard and still went to practice the entire year, even though he only played a few games,'' said Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
Posey started 29 games for Ohio State and ranks seventh in school history with 136 receptions and 18 touchdowns. His 1,955 yards receiving ranks eighth all-time.
The Texans also liked what they saw and heard from Posey at the combine, especially the way he answered the tough questions. ''He took a difficult set of circumstances and handled it as well as he could,'' said Houston GM Rick Smith.
Running back Boom Herron was the next Buckeye selected, by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round. Herron too was one of those caught up in the Tattoogate mess, and was concerned that his part in it would hurt him in the NFL draft.
"The questions always came up about it,'' said Herron. ''Teams definitely wanted to know about it, wanted to know what really happened, and I answered their questions honestly about everything."
Herron led the Buckeyes in rushing as a junior as OSU finished 12-1 with its sixth straight Big Ten title and a 31-26 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, but sat out the first half of the 2011 season.
"He's a guy who had a productive career at Ohio State," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "So we wanted to give him a chance to come in here and compete, and see if he can make the football team, either on special teams or as a runner.''
The New England Patriots tabbed Buckeye defensive back Nate Ebner in the sixth round as well, taking a last-round long shot gamble on the 6-1, 205-pound former rugby star who played primarily on special teams at OSU.
"I'm really at a loss for words about the whole thing,'' said Ebner, who joined the Buckeyes as a walk-on in 2009, after playing competitive rugby throughout high school. He was named the MVP of the Rugby World Cup in the 2007 and 2008 tournaments.
In addition, three Buckeyes were signed as free agents after the draft, with 2010 All-America center and four-year starter Mike Brewster going to the Jacksonville Jaguars and both three-year starting right tackle J.B. Shugarts and second-team All-Big Ten linebacker Andrew Sweat catching on with the Cleveland Browns.
Contact Steve Hemmelgarn at firstname.lastname@example.org