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Cardale Jones is ready to seize his NFL opportunity

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Inspired by those before him, Jones is now ready to step into the NFL spotlight.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

"It really doesn't matter what people say; what matters is how prepared I am to take advantage of the opportunity when my phone rings."

Cardale Jones, CampusRush.com

Cardale Jones recalls going to Ted Ginn Jr.'s draft party back in 2007 at Glenville High. He remembers everybody getting together, and being inspired by Ginn, Donte Whitner, and Troy Smith. He chronicles how he has been training in San Diego since the season ended in January, saying he now throws with the laces. His trainer compared not using them to "driving with only your wrist on the steering wheel in New York City traffic." He's also been taking snaps under center, something he notes that they never did at Ohio State. He truly sounds focused in his writing, and ready to take on the next step in his football career.

Cardale says that he won't be having a draft party, despite so many pushing him to have one. He says he will be working out on the first day of the draft, and will have a recovery day during the second and third round, where he says he will be watching in his apartment in Columbus. He doesn't sound concerned where he ends up, saying that no matter where he lands, he will approach every day as if he is the starter, so he will be ready when his number is called. Cardale also talks about how he's gone back to Ginn Academy and Glenville High to motivate kids, hoping that he can inspire just as the players before him did. It certainly seems like he realizes how far he has come, the magnitude of his complete work ethic, and being a role model for kids in his area.

"Todd Gurley broke through and became the first top-10 pick at the running back position in a few seasons. In the 2016 NFL Draft, Ezekiel Elliott of Ohio State should get a streak going."

Dan Kadar, SB Nation

SB Nation's Dan Kadar has been high on Ezekiel Elliott. Anytime you are drawing comparisons to Todd Gurley who was one of the better running backs in the NFL last season, that's pretty high praise. And while Kadar says that Elliott's game isn't perfect (which, who's is?) he says it's pretty close. He likes Zeke's speed, power, and shiftiness. Kadar says that Elliott's ability to use all of those skills simultaneously is what makes him such a great prospect at running back. Not to mention he's a great receiving back, and a great pass blocker.

Kadar has Elliott as the top running back in the 2016 draft class. He's followed by Heisman winner Derrick Henry out of Alabama, Arkansas' Alex Collins, UCLA's Paul Perkins, and Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon at No. 5. Kadar's biggest knock on Elliott's game was that sometimes he will "take a slow first move" before unleashing his skills. While no player comes out of college totally ready for the professional game, Elliott comes pretty close, and if he lands in good hands, he can become an immediate impact early on in his career, making Buckeye fans look forward to Sundays even more than they might already.

Ohio State has an appropriate 15 former players who will be drafted. Don't be surprised if more than half go in the first round. That's a pretty good selling point for Urban Meyer.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News

Iyer stars off his article discussing the 2004 NFL Draft class where Ohio State set the record for players selected in a single seven-round draft class with 14. Along with those 14, the University of Miami had a record six players go in the first round. He follows that up by saying that neither has anything on the 2016 draft class that Ohio State is about to produce. The Buckeyes are expected to have around 15 players drafted, and Iyer believes that half of them (or more) could go in the first round. As Iyer says, that's a pretty good selling point for the program and Urban Meyer.

He is particularly impressed with the balance of talent on both sides of the ball for this draft class. His top five players from the Buckeye class include Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, Eli Apple, Taylor Decker, and Darron Lee. Amazingly, as much praise as Nick Vannett and Tyvis Powell have received, they are No. 12 and No. 13 on his list, respectively. There are certainly going to be different factors that could change the landscape of the first round, and the draft in its entirety, but there's no mistaking that no matter the result, it'll be a great day for Ohio State football.

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