Top 10 NFL players from the state of Ohio
We rank the 10 best NFL players of all time from the state of Ohio.
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Ohio fans love their sports. Whether its the Browns, the Bengals, the Buckeyes, the Reds, Guardians or the Cavaliers, the Ohio faithful are committed. The state of Ohio has produced many very talented athletes, some of which have dominated at the very top of pro sports.
Going all the way back through the history of NFL players from Ohio, let’s take a look at the top 10 talents to come out of the Buckeye State.
Current NFL Players from Ohio
The list of current NFL players who were born and grew up in Ohio is impressive. From the Kelce brothers to the likes of Russell Wilson, Marshon Lattimore, Denzel Ward and Micah Hyde, the talent runs deep. Russel Wilson leads all current players from the state of Ohio in Pro Bowl selections with nine, while Travis Kelce has seven, and Kyle Juszczyk has six.
Jason Kelce is leading amongst active players when it comes to First Team All Pro selections. He has four, and is just one ahead of his brother Travis, with three.
It’s interesting to see how some of these players carved their path to the NFL, with many staying in the state of Ohio for their college careers. Travis and Jason Kelce both played for Cincinnati, while Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore played for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ranking the Top 10 All-Time NFL Players from the state of Ohio
Whether it’s Super Bowl titles, All-Pro selections, Hall of Fame jackets or Pro Bowls, this list has it all, and plenty of it. These are the best NFL players from Ohio.
10. Larry Csonka | Fullback
Born: December 25, 1946 in Stow, Ohio
Years active: 12
Teams: Miami Dolphins, Memphis Southmen (WFL), New York Giants
Awards: 2x Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, 2x First Team All Pro, 5x Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame
Larry Csonka was part of the Miami Dolphins' perfect season in 1972, winning back-to-back Super Bowls under Don Shula in the 1972 and 1973 seasons. Csonka was a traditional fullback who ran for 6,737 yards and 53 touchdowns for the Dolphins, and remains the franchise leading rusher to this day. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
9. Nick Mangold | Center
Born: January 13, 1984 in Centerville, Ohio
Years active: 11
Teams: New York Jets
Awards: 2x First Team All Pro, 7x Pro Bowl, New York Jets Ring of Honor
Nick Mangold being born in Centerville, Ohio is a story so perfectly written in the stars it’s almost hard to believe. Mangold became one of the greatest centers to ever play in the NFL, having been selected for seven Pro Bowls in his 11 seasons with the New York Jets.
Mangold is one of the most popular Jets to have ever played for the franchise. He played his college football close to home at Ohio State, and was selected by the Jets in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft.
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Quarterback
Born: March 2, 1982 in Lima, Ohio
Years active: 18
Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers
Awards: 2x Super Bowl Champion, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, 6x Pro Bowl, 2x NFL Passing Yards Leader
‘Big Ben’ spent 18 years facing the two Ohio NFL franchises twice a season. As it turns out, those fans don’t care all that much that he was born and raised in Ohio. When Big Ben started dominating the Browns and the Bengals, they started to dislike him.
Roethlisberger brought two Super Bowls to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2006 and again in 2009. The 2006 Super Bowl made him the youngest Super Bowl winning quarterback in history, beating the Seahawks in just his second season as a pro.
Ben played his college football for the Miami Redhawks in Ohio, and was drafted by the Steelers with the 11th pick of the 2004 NFL draft. He played for 18 seasons before retiring in January 2022.
7. Orlando Pace | Tackle
Born: November 4, 1975 in Sandusky, Ohio
Years active: 13
Teams: St Louis Rams, Chicago Bears
Awards: Super Bowl Champion, 3x First Team All Pro, 7x Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame
Orlando Pace played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes and was drafted with the No. 1 pick in the 1997 NFL Draft by the St Louis Rams. That turned out to be a pretty good selection, as Pace went on to become one of the greatest tackles the NFL has ever seen.
Pace was one of the core members of the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ offense that led to the Rams' first Super Bowl title in Super Bowl XXXIV, alongside Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. It was with Pace’s assistance and dominant blocking that the Rams hosted back-to-back-to-back MVPs as quarterback Kurt Warner won the award in 1999, Marshall Faulk won it in 2000, and Warner won it again in 2001. Pace has one of the most decorated careers of any tackle, and was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016 as a result.
6. Luke Kuechly | Linebacker
Born: April 20, 1991 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Years active: 8
Teams: Carolina Panthers
Awards: NFL Defensive Player of the Year, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, 5x First Team All Pro, 7x Pro Bowl, 2x NFL Tackles Leader
Luke Kuechly was selected to the Pro Bowl in every season barring his rookie year, in which he was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Kuechly changed the franchise in Carolina. He was dominant from the moment he got to the NFL, and helped the Panthers make it to Super Bowl 50 alongside Cam Newton and the explosive offense.
Kuechly abruptly retired following yet another Pro Bowl season in an emotional goodbye that shocked the football world. He stated that he no longer felt he could play at the very top, and so hung it up. Luke Kuechly will go down as one of the greatest Carolina Panthers to ever play the game, and one of the best linebackers to ever put on pads.
5. Cris Carter | Wide Receiver
Born: November 25, 1965 in Troy, Ohio
Years active: 16
Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins
Awards: Walter Payton Man of the Year, 2x First Team All Pro, 8x Pro Bowl, NFL Receptions Leader (1994), 3x NFL Receiving Touchdowns Leader, Pro Football Hall of Fame
After being released by the Eagles due to off the field issues, Cris Carter turned around a shaky start to his career when he was signed by the Minnesota Vikings.
Carter went on to have eight back-to-back 1,000+ yard receiving seasons, ending with a career total of 13,899. He has 130 career touchdowns, which puts him eighth on the NFL's all-time list, and 13th all-time in receiving yards. Carter is widely considered one of the greatest receivers of all time, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
4. Roger Staubach | Quarterback
Born: February 5, 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Years active: 11
Teams: Dallas Cowboys
Awards: 2x Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, 6x Pro Bowl, NFL Passing Touchdowns Leader (1973)
Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy in 1963 as a member of the US Naval Academy, where he served in the US Navy, including a tour of Vietnam. He went on to have a decorated career with the Dallas Cowboys, winning two Super Bowls and the MVP award in one of those two games.
Staubach closed his career with the greatest NFL quarterback passer rating at the time of his retirement, and ‘Roger the Dodger’ is recognized as one of the greatest Cowboys, as well as one of the all-time greatest football players in the history of the NFL.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
3. Russell Wilson | Quarterback
Born: November 29, 1988 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Years active: 11*
Teams: Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos
Awards: Super Bowl Champion, Walter Payton Man of the Year, 9x Pro Bowl, NFL Passing Touchdowns Leader (2017)
Russell Wilson dominated the NFL for years with the Seattle Seahawks. He won a Super Bowl, and was inches away from winning a second. He’s been selected for no less than nine Pro Bowls, has thrown 296 touchdowns and counting, and has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks of his generation.
Wilson never missed a game during his first nine seasons in the league and had nine consecutive winning seasons in each of those years. He led the Seahawks to the postseason eight times, where they would make back-to-back Super Bowls.
He now faces a new challenge in Denver, with plenty left in the tank. Russell Wilson is one of most famous football players from Ohio, with his celebrity status being quite high profile alongside his star partner Ciara.
2. Charles Woodson | Cornerback
Born: October 7, 1976 in Fremont, Ohio
Years active: 18
Teams: Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers
Awards: Super Bowl Champion, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, 4x First Team All Pro, 9x Pro Bowl, 2x NFL Interceptions Season Leader, Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame
Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy with the Michigan Wolverines as one of the greatest and most dominant college football players of all time. He was so good and so far ahead of his opponents that he played in all three phases. While he was primarily a defensive back, he played special teams as a punt returner, and occasionally came in as a wide receiver too, because why not?
Woodson won just about every award going in college football in 1997, and was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the fourth pick in the 1998 draft. He went on to dominate pro football just as he had dominated in college. He racked up 1,205 career tackles, 65 career interceptions, 11 of which he returned for a touchdown, along with no less than 155 pass deflections and 33 forced fumbles.
Woodson went on to win a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, emerging as a leader for the franchise and elevating his game in the process. Woodson had 28 interceptions in his first four seasons as a Green Bay Packer. He recorded 10 of his 13 career defensive touchdowns with the Packers, which is a tied league record alongside Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper.
Woodson is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, and will go down as one of the greatest defensive backs of all time. He’s certainly one of the greatest football players from Ohio.
1. Travis Kelce | Tight End
Born: October 5, 1989 in Westlake, Ohio
Years active: 10*
Teams: Kansas City Chiefs
Awards: Super Bowl Champion, 3x First Team All Pro, 7x Pro Bowl
We might well be looking at the greatest tight end of all time in Travis Kelce. He is now 10 years into his career in the NFL, and nobody has managed to figure out how to stop him.
Kelce has no less than six 1,000+ yard receiving seasons as a tight end, which is an NFL record, but he’s not finished yet. Kelce also holds the record for the most consecutive 1,000+ yard receiving seasons by a tight end, the most receiving yards in a single season by a tight end with 1,416, and the most 100-reception seasons by a tight end. That’s a lot of records. Kelce is currently sixth all time in receiving touchdowns at his position, and is approaching Shannon Sharpe in receiving yards at the position.
The bottom line is Travis Kelce is dominating, and has been doing so consistently night after night, year after year. The combination of Kelce and Patrick Mahomes is dynamite, and even without Tyreek Hill in 2022, Travis Kelce is unstoppable. He might be the greatest player to ever come out of the state of Ohio. Shout out to his brother Jason too, who was 11th on the list, and deserves an honorable mention of his own.