Throughout the NFL Draft, many Ohio State Buckeyes on the offensive side of the ball have heard their name called. From a quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, to wide receivers in Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell, to an offensive lineman in Michael Jordan, all have been selected through the first five rounds.
Add another member of the OSU family to that list, as offensive tackle Isaiah Prince has been selected by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why the X team fans (and non fans) should be excited about this pick.
1. A consistent presence on the Ohio State offense
Over the past four seasons, there was a constant on the OSU O-line: Prince. And for the last three seasons, he was a starter. That’s 54 games were Prince was a mainstay, and some of the games were huge. Against Penn State? He was there. Against Clemson in the College Football Playoff? He was there. Against Michigan? Yeah, he was definitely there.
Getting reps are important. I think getting ample opportunities to prove oneself is a very good thing to have. Whether thrown into the fire, or the de facto go-to guy, just getting onto the field at Ohio State is an accomplishment. And for Prince to be there for three years is impressive.
Last season, he was part of a unit that allowed the third fewest sacks in the Big Ten, while having one of the most potent passers in school history.
2. Overcoming struggles on the field
Even though he’s been a central figure to the offensive line, things have not always been great for Prince. Especially starting out, things really weren’t good. Towards the end of the 2016 season, criticism rained down upon Prince for poor play against Michigan—a game OSU won in overtime at home, 30-27. (Known as the game where the spot was good).
Then the loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal happened. That was a game where nothing seemed to go right for the Buckeye offense. They couldn’t create opportunities to score, mainly because J.T. Barrett faced pressure all night. A main target for why the Buckeye offense didn’t work: offensive line play, notably around Prince.
But, there’s a silver lining. Prince improved night and day since then, and put on a pretty good showing last season. There were a few games when things weren’t easy (Minnesota and Maryland), but he became more reliable than two seasons ago.
Struggles happen. How you get out of them is the important thing. Prince knows how to take the criticism and the complaints, and battle through them to improve.
3. The run blocking is top-notch
Miami was 18th in the NFL last season in total rushing yards. A guy like Prince on the line could make a big difference.
Ohio State's Isaiah Prince put forth the 2019 NFL Draft Class' fifth-highest run-blocking grade in 2018 pic.twitter.com/6eUHq2gBei— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 8, 2019
Credited as a “Big ground-gainer with initial kick slide” in his combine profile, Prince has demonstrated his ability to use his length to gain space after the snap. In addition to how this has helped in the running game, this has led to a massive improvement in his pass-protection capabilities over the course of his college career.
4. A leader
I’m a big fan of the intangibles. One key intangible Prince has is the title of leader. Last season, his teammates picked him to be one of the team captains. Having the trust of your peers is huge, and in games like last year’s epic comeback against the Nittany Lions, the ability to keep on fighting when all looks lost is an important trait to have.
5. Prince creates space for the offense to work
Credited as a “Big ground-gainer with initial kick slide” in his combine profile, Prince has demonstrated his ability to use his length to gain space after the snap. This has led to a massive improvement in his pass-protection capabilities over the course of his college career.
Any concerns about Prince?
Prince came to Columbus as a highly-touted four-star prospect and was expected to contribute immediately on the offensive line. It took him a few seasons in Columbus to figure out how to reach his potential and, along the way, was often overshadowed by players like Billy Price and Michael Jordan who were truly dominant from their respective positions. He’ll need to be ready to grow quickly into his new role in the pros.