Potential Day 1 Prospects
Nick Bosa, Edge, Jr.
Bosa is an early contender to be the first overall selection in the NFL draft. He is just slightly smaller than his Pro Bowl brother, but he could be just as good. I would have rated him ahead of Bradley Chubb and behind Myles Garrett. He should have a long future in the pros as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 defensive end.
Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Jr.
Jones profiles as a 3-4 DE or a 4-3 interior penetrator. He surely has NFL athleticism and it would be difficult for him to not improve on last season’s numbers because of all the talent that surrounds him in that front seven. I’m always a little bit leary when teams have really impressive units because that’s when you tend to get some overrated hype. Jones is in the 1st round discussion, but he will need to be much better than he was in 2017. If he can’t make a major impact while playing with future pro players against many offensive linemen who will be looking for real jobs when their collegiate careers are over, then how can he be expected to be a difference maker when the field is leveled? Let’s see what he does this season. Wide ranging 1st to 4th round projection for me right now.
Potential Day 2 Prospects
Mike Weber, RB, Jr.
Weber hasn’t fully exploded onto the college scene as the star he was projected to become because of the presence of J.K. Dobbins on the roster. He’s certainly been productive in a 1B role and has averaged over 6 yards per carry throughout his career. Before Dobbins arrived on campus, Weber had 23 receptions as a freshman. NFL executives will be happy he doesn’t have workhorse tread on his tires and he will be a lock to land on Day 2 if he gets there.
Michael Jordan, OG, Jr.
Jordan has been outstanding since arriving at Ohio State. He’s been a starter for both of his seasons on campus. At 6’7, he’s a bit tall for a guard, but he may be able to act as an emergency right tackle in the NFL. I have Jordan as a safe Day 2 prospect.
Robert Landers, 4-3 DT, Jr.
Ray and I never downgrade short defensive tackles because they often are adept at gaining leverage. We do concede that those players are limited to 4-3 schemes except for rare exceptions (Aaron Donald). Landers produced in a limited role during the 2017 season and now he’ll get a chance to show that he can handle more playing time. Right now, I’d call him a strong 3rd round choice.
Parris Campbell, WR, Sr.
Campbell reminds me of Randall Cobb. He’s going to be a nice complementary piece who will catch a few passes, contribute a couple carries from time to time, and be an asset in the return game. He’s a solid 3rd round choice with a low ceiling.
Jordan Fuller, SS, Jr.
Fuller is a big safety who will probably be best utilized in the box at the next level. That said, he did register 2 interceptions during his sophomore campaign so let’s see if he can take the next step as an upperclassman. Currently, I’d put him in the 3rd or fourth round.
Austin Mack, WR, Jr.
Mack was a solid starter as a sophomore in 2017. He is big and athletic. If he takes another step forward this year, he will be in the Day 2 mix. If he doesn’t, then I expect he would return to school for 2019. His roomate is Haskins.
Potential Day 3 Prospects
Binjimen Victor, WR, Jr.
Victor is a highly regarded recruit who will once again try to make a name for himself in a very crowded position group. His calling card is the red-zone. He reminds me a bit of Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman. Like the rest of these receivers, we’re going to have to see who earns playing time and production.
K.J. Hill, WR, Jr.
Hill is the volume receiver in this offense. They’re all highly regarded recruits so it will be fun to see who stands out amongst the crowd. Like I said with Binjimen, I don’t want to lock these guys into round projections until I see how the year unfolds. I’d put both of them in the 4th-5th round range for now.
Isaiah Prince, OT, Sr.
Prince is going to leave Ohio State as a 4-year starter. He should get drafted at some point mid-to-late Day 3 as a reserve.
Kendall Sheffield, CB, Jr.
Sheffield was originally a member of the Alabama squad. He has bounced around a bit and finally got to play last season. With Denzel Ward gone, he will have a much bigger role this season and it will be interesting to see if he can respond as favorably as his predecessors. I don’t think he’s as good as the OSU corners we’ve seen in the last 2 drafts, but he does have a chance to get drafted.
Terry McLaurin, WR, Sr.
McLaurin isn’t going to be an NFL starter. He is, however, a very good blocker so he may have a chance to get drafted as a bottom-of-the roster receiver. If not, he will definitely be in a camp as an undrafted free agent next summer.
Chase Young, Edge, So.
Everyone is talking about Nick Bosa right now, but Chase Young is a better prospect. He made an impact as a true freshman and has comparable size to Bosa. He is a better overall athlete than perhaps both Bosa brothers. Look for Young to come off the board very early in 2020, perhaps even 1st overall.
J.K. Dobbins, RB, So.
Dobbins isn’t eligible for the draft until 2020, but scouts will love his size, speed, production, and ability to quickly learn an offense. Against Michigan, he was 15-101-1 with 2 catches for 7 yards. He then added 2 more catches to a 17-174 line against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship. Dobbins is an easy call as a 1st round evaluation. The only thing working against him is the glut of talent projected to be at the position in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, So.
I fully expect Haskins to be one of 2018’s breakout stars in NCAA football. He’s bigger and has a better arm than J.T. Barrett. He will certainly get drafted a lot higher as well. Haskins is in the early conversation to be the top quarterback chosen in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jeffrey Okudah, CB, So.
Okudah is the next great Ohio State cornerback. He should start or at least play a lot this season after being the top recruit at his position a year ago. Likely a future 1st round selection and possibly top 10.
Baron Browning, LB, So.
Browning, like Okudah and Chase Young, is going to emerge as one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten this season. With all the talk surrounding Bosa and Jones, don’t overlook the next wave of elite Ohio State defenders. Browning has Top-15 potential.
Taron Vincent, DT, Fr.
Jones and Landers could both enter the 2019 NFL Draft and leave a big hole in the middle of the Ohio State defense. That hole will be filled by the this year’s top recruit at defensive tackle and the son of former cornerback, Troy Vincent. For now, just file his name away for the 2019 season, but know that he has top-10 overall potential.
Drue Chrisman, P, So.
Chrisman was one of the top 3 punters in his recruiting class and he has already enjoyed a strong season as the team’s punter. He will be an early Day 3 selection in 2020 or 2021.
Thayer Munford, OT, So.
Munford is going to start this season and has reportedly had a good spring. He will get the next couple years to prove that he is a Top 100 pick in the 2020 or 2021 NFL draft.