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Ohio State's Pat Elflein, Raekwon McMillan early favorites to be 1st round picks in 2017 NFL Draft

While those two are the obvious choices, more Buckeyes could join the fold.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

"Elflein could've chosen to play on Sundays this fall instead of Saturdays. But the Buckeyes couldn't be happier he decided to stick around."

Josh Moyer,

In aa recent mock draft from ESPN's NFL Nation, the Big Ten was projected to have seven players taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Since it's never too early to look ahead to the future, ESPN's Big Ten blog took a look a seven players from the Big Ten that could possibly be taken in the first round...of the 2017 NFL Draft. Even though Ohio State lost plenty of talent that'll likely be taken in this year's draft, there are still a couple names that are being projected to be taken early in next year's NFL Draft. The first of those names is returning offensive lineman Pat Elflein. The center is the lone returning starter heading into this season on Ohio State's offensive line, and will likely be in the mix for the Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year award in the Big Ten.

The other Buckeye mentioned in this list was linebacker Raekwon McMillan. After he racked up 119 tackles and was one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, it should be no surprise that McMillan is high on the list of possible first round choices from the Big Ten following next year. After having to share the spotlight with Darron Lee and Joshua Perry the last few years, McMillan will finally get to become the leader of the linebackers this season. So far McMillan has matched the hype after coming to Ohio State as a five-star recruit, now it wouldn't be any shock to see him surpass it with a huge year this season.

"We broke the record for being the most successful senior class in college football history (with 50 wins) and now we have chance of breaking the record of having the most first-rounders and the most people drafted in one year. To continue to be a part of history like that is pretty special."

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer via Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Tonight is the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft in Chicago, and if there is one thing that should be a given among all the unpredictability of who gets taken where, it is that at least four Ohio State players should hear their name called tonight. Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Taylor Decker, and Darron Lee are all projected to be taken over the course of the first round tonight. There are indications that cornerback Eli Apple could also here his name called, and it's not out of the realm of possibilities that Vonn Bell or another Buckeye could also be chosen. If Ohio State does see five players taken in the first round tonight, it would match 2006 when they also had five players taken in the first round. The overall record for most players taken in the first round was set by Miami in 2004 when they had six players taken.

While Ohio State is expected to put on a first round blitz this year, there are still plenty of Buckeyes who will be taken on Friday or Saturday as well. If Bell isn't taken he'll lead the charge of Buckeyes taken on Friday, which could also include Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, Adolphus Washington, and Cardale Jones. By the time the NFL Draft wraps up on Saturday, Ohio State could have 13 or 14 players taken over the seven round event. If the Buckeyes are able to see 14 players drafted, they'll not only match 2004 when they had 14 players taken, but Miami also had that many during that draft.

"Austin Mack is going to play this year. I know it's early to say that and I have a tendency to over-evaluate guys when I get excited about them, but he's doing fantastic."

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer via Austin Ward,

It has been nearly two weeks since Ohio State's spring practices have wrapped up, and ESPN has been taking a look at the play who had a breakout spring for each of the Big Ten teams. Ohio State's breakout player over the 15 practices the Buckeyes were allotted was freshman wide receiver Austin Mack. Head coach Urban Meyer has been singing the praises of the early enrollee so far, and became the first freshman during Meyer's time at Ohio State to have his black stripe removed by the coaching staff during spring practices.

Mack making such an impact so early for Ohio State is something the Buckeyes desperately need given their uncertainty at wide receiver. With Michael Thomas and Jalin Marshall declaring early for the NFL Draft, along with the graduation of Braxton Miller, there is plenty of turnover at wide receiver this year. The Buckeyes will get Corey Smith and Noah Brown back from the injuries they suffered last year, but after that there is plenty of underclassmen jockeying for position on the depth chart. With Mack impressing the coaching staff early in his time at Ohio State, it's likely he'll avoid being redshirt this year and could possibly be in line for some big contributions on the field in 2016.

"I don't think there's too many people that would say, 'No, I wouldn't want to be the head coach at Ohio State.' But my job is to help Thad Matta and to get better in every facet of the college game. I'm here to get better and I'm here also to help the program succeed as it has in the past."

Ohio State assistant coach Chris Jent via Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

Since Ohio State's basketball season has ended there hasn't been a whole lot of good news, with a number of players announcing their intentions to transfer from the program. Players weren't the only ones leaving earlier, as Jeff Boals accept the head coaching position at Stony Brook in early April. On April 21st the Buckeyes finally got some good news, when it was announced former assistant coach would be returning to Thad Matta's coaching staff. Not only did Jent play for the Buckeyes from 1988-1992 but he was also an assistant coach with Ohio State from 2011-2013. Following his two years as an assistant at Ohio State, Jent went on to spend three seasons as an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings, followed by coaching the Bakersfield Jam in the NBDL last season.

Yesterday was Jent's first news conference since being officially hired, and he said down the road he would like to be the head coach at Ohio State. Not that there isn't plenty of people who would love to have that job, though. Not that Thad Matta's job is in danger right now, but some see this as Ohio State setting the table for Jent to be Matta's successor. For now Jent will likely be adding his wisdom to an Ohio State offense that has struggled over the past few years. While Jent will be serving on Matta's staff, and hopefully stating his case to take over for the head coach down the road, his main goal is to help the Buckeye basketball program return to prominence and help Ohio State add to their championship banners.