“Nice day for Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins at his Pro Day. Big arm as expected, good footwork/movement in/out of pocket, too”
There isn’t much Dwayne Haskins could do at this point to increase his stock. Already projected as a top-10 pick in this year’s NFL Draft, he and Kyler Murray are the two best quarterbacks on the board, and it will really come down to what teams value which player’s style better as to who is selected first — Haskins being more of a traditional pocket passer and Murray with his scrambling ability.
Haskins, however, still put on a show for NFL scouts on Wednesday afternoon, confirming what everyone has already seen and heard about his tremendous arm talent. It was reported that Haskins completed about 45 out of 50 throws in the first section of OSU’s Pro Day, with four of the misses coming on passes dropped by his receivers. He also proceeded to go 13 of 14 in the red zone portion of his workout. Overall, Haskins showed improved footwork and impressive accuracy, especially on his deep balls.
Outside of his impressive football-related attributes, one Giants beat writer noted another important characteristic Haskins put on display during his workout. During one of the QB’s reps, wide receiver Parris Campbell slipped and fell midway through his route. Haskins immediately stopped the drill and ran over to Campbell to make sure he was alright. NFL scouts likely took note of this, as the young QB displayed some great leadership skills and signs of being a great teammate, two very important attributes for quarterbacks at the highest level.
While anything could happen between now and draft day, Haskins’ most likely destination remains the New York Giants. Despite reports in the past week that the Giants had eased up in their pursuit of the Ohio State signal caller, New York sent 10 officials to watch Haskins and other Buckeyes work out, among them Pat Shurmur, the Giants head coach, and Chris Mara, the Giants’ Senior Vice President of player personnel, both of whom stood front and center behind Haskins while he threw. The contingent reportedly took Haskins out to dinner last night, where they were impressed by his intelligence. The Giants possess both the sixth and 17th pick in the first round of this year’s draft.
“If a guy is good enough to play, we have to get him on the field, and if he’s doing everything right, we have to find a role for him.”
Ohio State’s largely overhauled coaching staff seems intent on changing the philosophy of how the Buckeyes’ depth chart is constructed. Rather than the way things were done under the old regime, where seniority sometimes beat out talent for playing time, Ryan Day’s unit seems, at least in the early goings, intent on getting the best players on the field by any means. This is especially true on the defensive end, where a poor scheme and guys playing out of position handicapped what should have been a very capable defensive unit in 2018.
One of the guys responsible for resurrecting Ohio State’s defense is Jeff Hafley, the newly appointed secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator under Day. Hafley spent the past seven seasons in the NFL, working as the secondary coach for the Buccaneers, Browns and most recently the 49ers. With the Buckeyes not producing a first-round NFL talent for the first time since 2015, it will be on his shoulders to return the Silver Bullets back to their elite status.
If Hafley practices what he preaches and sticks to this philosophy of finding ways to put the best players on the field and utilizing guys in different roles in order to get that goal accomplished, he will have a bunch of options given the current guys on the roster. From what we have seen of Ohio State’s spring practices thus far, Jordan Fuller will occupy one starting safety spot likely opposite Josh Proctor, with Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade serving as the corners on the outside and Damon Arnette featuring as the slot corner. In this scenario, Brendon White is moved into a hybrid linebacker/safety role.
However, there is also the very realistic scenario that Wade is moved to safety. With Fuller and Wade in the safety spots, the Buckeyes will need to find someone to occupy one of the corner positions left in his absence. The most likely player to fill that void would be redshirt freshman Tyreke Johnson, a former five-star recruit who should see a good amount of playing time this season. Regardless of which alignment the coaching staff chooses to go with, Ohio State will hopefully feature a defensive backfield that utilizes as much talent as the roster allows.