As the calendar flips to April, we are now just a few weeks away from the 2020 NFL Draft. While the original plans for the venue in Las Vegas have been scrapped in light of the current world situation, the idea at this time is that the event will still be held in a virtual capacity at the end of the month as originally scheduled.
The country’s social distancing restrictions and the change in format of events have made it a bit more challenging for teams to build their draft boards, unable to meet with the talents and cancelling schools’ pro days that usually provide a lot more information into the type of player you would be getting. Regardless, Roger Goodell feels that the show must go on, and as a result, NFL franchises must make do with what they have.
Even without much, if any, face-to-face contact with the players, NFL GMs should have a pretty good idea of what they will be after in the draft. The experts, like ESPN’s Todd McShay and CBS’ Ryan Wilson, attempt to get into the minds of these GMs to figure out where the latest crop of college football standouts will end up. Let’s take a look at the pair’s latest projections for some of Ohio State’s NFL Draft hopefuls.
McShay: No. 2 - Redskins
Wilson: No. 2 - Redskins
This has been the most popular pick pretty much since the NFL Draft order has been set in stone. Chase Young is the undisputed best player in this year’s draft pool, but with the Cincinnati Bengals on the clock at No. 1 desperately needing a QB, the Buckeyes’ biggest threat on the defensive side is picked to team up with Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin on the Washington Redskins.
In his junior season, Young would finish up with 16.5 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles and three pass breakups. He dominated the line of scrimmage in every game Ohio State played all year long — minus the two games he missed with an unwarranted NCAA violation — and will look to do the same at the next level.
McShay: No. 3 - Lions
Wilson: No. 12 - Raiders
Probably the most common projection for the talented defensive back has been to the Detroit Lions at No. 3, but Wilson has him dropping all the way to the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 12. His pick isn’t a slight to Okudah’s skills, as Wilson still feels he is the top corner in the draft. However, even as what he ranks the No. 4 overall prospect in the draft, he feels there will be a slew of trade-ups for QBs and linemen ahead of the Buckeye CB, allowing him to fall into Jon Gruden’s hands.
Okudah’s stats aren’t going to jump off the page at you, which a lot of the time is the sign of a good cornerback. He finished this past season with three interceptions and nine pass breakups, and really the only flaw in his game was that he did not get to show off his skills enough as opposing QBs were too scared to throw his way. According to PFF, Okudah was statistically just as dominant at Ohio State as Jalen Ramsey was at Florida State — notoriously one of the best college corners of the decade.
McShay: No. 39 - Dolphins
Wilson: No. 57 - Texans
Dobbins’ projections have been all over the board depending on where you look. Some have slotted him as a late first round pick, while most, like McShay and Wilson, have him coming off the board sometime in the second round. The Miami Dolphins have become a popular landing spot for the Ohio State running back, as they were reportedly so high on him that they made sure to move up his pre-draft visit before everything got shut down.
The junior put together his best year with the Buckeyes in his final season, rushing for just over 2,000 yards and 23 total touchdowns. In a class that isn’t overloaded with talent at the position, Dobbins is up there with Georgia’s D’Andre Swift and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor as one of the best backs in the draft. His combination of size, strength and speed should definitely play at the next level.
McShay: No. 43 - Bears
Wilson: No. 58 - Vikings
Arnette faced a decision at the end of the 2018 season whether or not to declare for the NFL Draft. After a discussion with Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter, he elected to return for his senior season to try and improve his draft stock — and improve it he did. Having likely been a late-round guy after his junior year, Arnette is now projected to go somewhere between the second and third round, with McShay sending him to the Chicago Bears and Wilson to the Minnesota Vikings, both in the second round.
In 2019, Arnette had one pick that went back for 96 yards and a touchdown against Indiana, and finished the year with eight total pass breakups. His abilities were limited quite a bit having to play the entire season with a cast on his wrist, but he powered through and had a very productive season for Ohio State opposite Okudah. He was much more consistent than in seasons prior, which no doubt aided in his draft stock bump.
With McShay’s mock draft only covering the first two rounds, those were the only four Ohio State players to make the cut. Wilson’s mock, however, extends into the third round, and includes another three former Buckeyes.
Wilson actually has guard Jonah Jackson being taken No. 52 overall by the Los Angeles Rams, the only other member of the Scarlet and Gray to get a first two-round projection in either of these mock drafts. Following Jackson, Wilson has linebacker Malik Harrison going No. 65 overall to the Bengals and defensive tackle Davon Hamilton at No. 95 to the Broncos.