Ten Ohio State Buckeyes heard their names called by Roger Goodell during the 2020 NFL Draft, while five were picked up by teams as undrafted free agents.
It’s a pretty safe bet that Chase Young, Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette— the three Buckeyes who were picked up in the first round— will win the starting job right off the bat. I wrote about how they’ll each make an impact on their respective defenses, here.
But once we get into the second and third rounds, it’s a little unclearer how badly teams actually need the players they draft. (Re: Philadelphia drafts a quarterback in the second round). In other words, these players may have to compete for the starting job, or may only make the roster for depth-related reasons.
However, it’s looking like the Ohio State second and third-rounders landed in just the right spots— for teams who would be foolish not to start them in the season opener. Here’s how each of those guys will impact their respective teams who were lucky enough to snag them when they did.
Pick: No. 55
Team: Baltimore Ravens
It was pretty surprising to see Dobbins go this late in the draft as the fifth running back off the board, considering many had mocked him as a late first, early second-rounder. The junior running back finished his last season at Ohio State with 2,003 yards rushing—a school record— and 21 touchdowns, along with 247 yards receiving and two touchdown receptions.
But the question is, why did the Ravens — who set the NFL’s single-season rushing record in 2019 — use a second-round pick on a running back?
The team signed running back Mark Ingram to a contract in the spring of 2019 and then picked up RB Justice Hill in the fourth-round of the 2019 draft a month later. Ingram carried the ball 202 times last season, Gus Edwards carried 133 times, quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed the ball 176 times and Hill had 58—producing a total of 3,296 rushing yards.
As Andrew Gillis of NBC Sports wrote, sure, the team would probably like to cut down on Jackson’s 176 carries, but Ingram, Edwards, and Hill are more than capable of taking the load off their quarterback.
However, if you look a little closer, Ingram just turned 30 (which is like 80 in running back years) and Edwards will become a free agent next offseason.
You don’t draft a running back in the second round to have him warm the bench. They’ll likely use Dobbins to take the load off of both Jackson and Ingram, which isn’t great news for Edwards or Hill’s chances at making the 53-man roster come training camp, according to Gillis.
“Dobbins’ addition likely means the introduction of more rotation in the backfield, as well as the potential for two-back sets that don’t include fullback Patrick Ricard,” Gillis wrote.
If Dobbins wins the starting job in 2021, the Ravens may even release Ingram, saving them $5 million against the cap.
All in all, Dobbins was a wise choice for Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta, who couldn’t believe Dobbins was still available at pick No. 55.
“We’re a team that likes to run the football. Having running backs is really, really important,” DeCosta said. “This was a guy that’s, in my opinion, one of the very best in college football this year. He’s going to be a dangerous player for us and give us the depth to do what we like to do.”
Pick: No. 73
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
As our Gene Ross wrote, “while guys like Young get all the glory off the edge, it is players like Hamilton charged with doing the dirty work up the middle...Defensive tackles don’t usually stuff the stat sheet, mostly tasked with stuffing the run up the middle and applying pressure to the pocket. While Hamilton excelled at both of these, he also showed flashes as a pass-rusher, actually finishing second on the team in 2019 with six sacks.”
So, how will the Jags utilize their new 6-foot-4, 310-pound interior lineman?
“Getting someone who can control the line of scrimmage and keep the linebackers clean is pivotal in a team’s ability to stop the run, something the Jaguars struggle mightily with last season,” wrote Demetrius Harvey of Big Cat Country.
Enter: DaVon Hamilton
“He is a big guy,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. “We think he is going to get a lot better even though he is really good right now. You can see him on the move. He has such great strength at the holding point. I think he is going to really help us on the inside.”
Jaguars Director of College Scouting Mark Ellenz said the Jaguars see Hamilton as more than a run-stuffer, but that that’s unquestionably his strongest attribute. The Jaguars entered the draft focused on improving their subpar run defense, John Oehser of Jaguars.com wrote.
“He’s able to get upfield and penetrate,” Ellenz said. “He can also push the pocket. We don’t see him as a one-dimensional guy, but the run-stuffing part of his game is primary.”
Pick: No. 75
Team: Detroit Lions
Before transferring to Ohio State for the 2019 season, Jonah Jackson attended Rutgers, where he played center and right guard from 2016 to 2018. Despite being named a team captain in 2018, and being a part of an O-line ranked No. 19 in the nation, he decided to transfer.
As the starting left guard at Ohio State for just one season, he earned third-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors. His pass protection was second to none, and with his experience playing both guard positions as well as center, it’s easy to see why the Lions traded up 10 spots to select Jackson.
Jonah Jackson played 1,020 pass-blocking reps in his college career. He allowed 1 sack. That's, like, not too bad.— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) April 25, 2020
Detroit saw him at the Senior Bow, fell in love and traded up for him in the third round of the NFL draft: https://t.co/z2VV3CV84C pic.twitter.com/f0tqkFpHLV
“Going into this offseason, it was painfully clear that the right guard position was the biggest liability on Detroit’s roster. On top of that, their situation at left guard wasn’t ideal either,” writes Max Gerber of Lions Wire. “Drafting Jackson, who can play either guard spot and center, can be plugged into any of those roles, and start for Detroit.”
However, Jackson does have some competition for the job at right guard. He’ll be expected to compete for the spot with veterans Kenny Wiggins and Oday Aboushi, although “both players are career reserves who aren’t really long-term answers for a team that keeps saying its serious about rebuilding its wayward running game,” wrote Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
The Lions return their starting center Frank Ragnow along with the left side of their line. They also added right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai in free agency. So, the multifaceted Jackson will more than likely find his home at right guard in Detroit.
Pick: No. 98
Team: Baltimore Ravens
Joining Dobbins in Baltimore is third-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten linebacker Malik Harrison, who served as Ohio State’s best linebacker for the last few seasons. Harrison led the team with 75 total tackles, and racked up 16.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and four pass breakups.
“After losing C.J. Mosley to free agency a year ago and Josh Bynes and Patrick Onwuasor this offseason, Baltimore needed to rebuild its inside linebacker corps from the ground up. This is where Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison come in,” writes Dustin Cox of Baltimore Beatdown.
Almost exactly 24 hours after drafting LSU star linebacker Patrick Queen in the first round with the 28th pick, the Ravens took Harrison in the third. According to Cox, Queen and Harrison are bound to be “Baltimore’s next deadly duo.”
With Queen’s speed and Harrison’s physicality, the Ravens have got themselves a two-headed monster.
“The two linebackers should feed off of each other and quickly make an impact behind the behemoth of a defensive line that the Ravens have built up front with Brandon Williams, Calais Campbell, and Derek Wolfe,” Cox wrote. “Queen and Harrison will go together like peanut butter and jelly for years to come in Baltimore.”
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta attributes Harrison’s NFL-readiness to the success of Ohio State’s program and experience in big games, saying he can “really get acclimated quickly” and that he “looks like an NFL linebacker.”
“Malik is different,” DeCosta said. “He’s a big guy. You don’t get a lot of big linebackers anymore in college football. He’s almost 250 pounds, he has long arms, he takes guys on really, really well, he’s really strong in the box, and he can run.”