"That's probably one of the more bizarre things about all this. One of lowest-rated recruits. Had no position. And now at a position that is becoming a need in the NFL. It's so funny. What are the odds of that happening?"
- Darron Lee via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee is one of the many former Buckeyes looking to see where they end up in the NFL Draft, which starts on Thursday. Lee is one of the top prospects coming from Columbus, including Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Taylor Decker, and Vonn Bell, among others. The linebacker had quite a journey to get to where he is today (Lee is projected to be drafted somewhere mid-round, but has been projected as high as 10th). Lee didn't even play linebacker, really, until he came to Ohio State. He was a high school quarterback that also played some defensive back for his team. That changed when he joined the Buckeyes, and after a redshirt, Lee quickly became a household name for Ohio State en route to a national championship run.
Lee's speed is what makes all the difference when evaluating his play and especially his worth in the upcoming draft. With teams shifting to make their defensive players as fast as possible - and not just the secondary - Lee's value has gone up as he's progressed through the ranks of college. Now he could go from a high school quarterback to being a high draft pick in the NFL. He's proven to be a consistent performer for the Buckeyes and will look to do it on the next stage with a sizable paycheck.
"Torrance had good days and bad days, good reps and bad reps. He was a typical freshman that moved from quarterback to receiver. He's as talented as anybody in the country. I mean, his ceiling is unbelievably high. It's just all about consistency for him, so it's going to be a big two or three months before two-a-days and all that to get ready."
- Zach Smith via Austin Ward, ESPN
Torrance Gibson is still in the learning process right now. The former high-profile recruit has been making his transition to wide receiver the past year or so and is on his way to becoming a dangerous threat for Ohio State. Right now, Gibson isn't quite ready, but the coaching staff has praised his willingness to put in the required effort to eventually make it there. He made some solid plays during the spring game but was also hit with some teaching moments by head coach Urban Meyer after failing to go up and get a pass. After all, his six catches and touchdown day during the spring game was a sign of improvement and especially showcased the potential Gibson has to play wide receiver at the college level.
With his 6'4 frame, Gibson could be a huge asset for Ohio State's quarterbacks and would draw a fair amount of attention from opposing defenses when you also consider his speed. There was talk last season that the Buckeyes needed a deep threat with Devin Smith having moved on to the next level and it often times showed, as both Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett struggled to find open receivers down the field. Had Gibson been ready last season, he might have found himself in that role, but instead redshirted. Now is Gibson's chance to make an early mark, and don't be surprised to see him making some plays this fall.
"The former Buckeye possesses plenty of potential and athleticism, but a receiver that has never been provided with more than five targets in a game at the position leaves far too much to chance for that early of a selection."
- Wes Huber, Pro Football Focus
Former Ohio State star Braxton Miller is a curious case in this upcoming NFL Draft. On one hand, you have a hyper-athletic wide receiver that can stop on a dime and has a knack for simply making plays. On the other, you have a former quarterback that played one season at his new position and even still didn't get many opportunities compared to a bevy of other talented receivers looking to get drafted. As Wes Huber of Pro Football Focus above mentions, Miller didn't have a single game where he was targeted more than five times. For a player as talented as he is, there's still some learning and growing to do. Because of this, Huber listed Miller under his "buyer beware" for wide receivers (a list that also included Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell and Notre Dame's Will Fuller). In all fairness, he's not wrong to include Miller - there isn't anyone really doubting that the former quarterback has a lot of unpolished and under developed skills at wideout.
For any team that drafts Miller, they'll likely have to dedicate time to teaching him about being a wide receiver in the NFL. That's why Huber is cautioning an early pick of Miller (who's had his draft stock somewhat rising because of his playmaking ability and the impressive performances in practice for the Senior Bowl with scouts in attendance). It makes sense, but even if Miller were to fall to the middle or late rounds of the draft, at that point it might be considered an excellent pickup. His raw ability and work ethic are unquestioned, and any team would likely be better for it - especially if they can develop him correctly.
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