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Predicting Ohio State’s 2022 NFL draft picks

We’ve still got two days left in the 2021 draft, but what’s the harm in looking ahead?

Futurists The Detroit Free Press/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

Yeah, yeah, I know that there are still two days remaining in the 2021 NFL Draft, but we are rule-breakers here at LGHL, we’re iconoclasts. So we are getting a jump on our 2022 NFL Draft coverage, and instead of just giving you another lame, “way-too-early” mock draft, we are pulling out the old school Miss Cleo crystal ball and summoning the spirits from the other side to tell us exactly* where Ohio State football players will be selected a year from now when the draft emanates from Sin City.

*=not at all exactly

Now, you might say that my Buckeye bias is showing in these predictions, since this would will be a record-breaking draft haul for OSU, but I must remind you, these aren’t my predictions, per se. These are simply the glimpses of the future that the universe is telepathically sending my way.

So, if you want to argue — or you want to sic Old Takes Exposed on me a year from now — remember, I am just the conduit between you — dear reader — and the football gods. I am nothing more than the opinionless vessel communicating the truths from the other side.

First Round

No. 5 New York Jets: Garrett Wilson (WR)

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Moving form the slot to the outside, Wilson took the next step in his development into a superstar in the fall of 2021. After leading the Big Ten in touchdown receptions with 14 and being a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the Jets select him with their first pick to serve as a multi-functional weapon for second-year quarterback Zach Wilson.

No. 9 Atlanta Falcons: Zach Harrison (DE)

Ohio State fans have been waiting for Harrison to have a breakout season and in 2021, he did just that, racking up a Big Ten best 12.5 sacks and earning the league’s Defensive Lineman of the Year Award, continuing on the tradition of early first-round OSU DEs.

No. 11 Chicago Bears: Chris Olave (WR)

After returning to Columbus for another year after widely being considered at worst second round pick in the 2021 draft, Olave continued to do what he does: best piling up touchdowns and yardage. While his teammate Wilson got a lot of the shine this season, Olave was the solid playmaker that he’s always been, and he was rewarded by being reunited with Justin Fields in Chicago.

No. 21 New Orleans Saints: Sevyn Banks (CB)

Kerry Coombs will add another first-round cornerback to his illustrious resume as Banks had the type of season worthy of Ohio State’s #BIA legacy. And because of that, he will continue another Ohio State legacy, being drafted by the New Orleans Saints. While Banks had a standout year for the Buckeyes, the OSU defensive backs were still very much a work in progress in 2021. However, his success proves that a turnaround after the disastrous 2020 campaign is in progress.

No. 29: Baltimore Ravens: Nicholas Petit-Frere (OT)

It wasn’t that long ago that many in Buckeye Nation wondered if NPF would ever live up to the hype that he enjoyed as a high school prospect. Well, in 2021 — along with Thayer Munford — Petit-Frere helped anchor one of the best offensive lines in the country, protecting first-year starting quarterback C.J. Stroud and earning himself a first-round NFL contract to protect Lamar Jackson.

Second Round

No. 34 Jacksonville Jaguars: Tyreke Smith (DE)

While slightly overshadowed by the more heralded hometown Harrison, Smith also benefited by being one of two dominant ends that offenses needed to account for in 2021. While his numbers were not as gaudy as his counterpart’s, Smith was a force to be reckoned with on the outside and for his efforts, he was selected by the head coach who first recruited him, Urban Meyer.

No. 36 Indianapolis Colts: Taron Vincent (DT)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 19 Big Ten Championship Game - Northwestern v Ohio State Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When Vincent came to Ohio State, it was as a highly praised five-star stud. However, injuries slowed down his progression to becoming a professional football player. But, once finally healthy, Vincent put his freak athleticism and NFL lineage on display by leading the conference in tackles for loss with 21.

No. 39 Houston Texans: Thayer Munford (OT)

Munford is one of a handful of Buckeyes who opted to return to college following the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and his decision made a tremendous impact on OSU’s offense. Having two solid tackles allowed Stroud to have time to distribute the ball to his cavalcade of weapons, propelling the Buckeyes to their fifth-straight Big Ten championship. Munford was selected just one round after new Houston QB Spencer Rattler.

No. 46 Washington Football Team: Haskell Garrett (DT)

Team captain and 2021 Block O honoree, Haskell Garrett shocked many by returning following the 2020 campaign, especially considering everything that he suffered during the previous offseason. However, Garrett followed up his breakout season with another solid effort, and ended up being picked not too long after his fellow defensive tackle. He will now play alongside former OSU teammate Chase Young in the nation’s capitol.

No. 51 Los Angeles Rams: Henry To’o To’o (LB)

After transferring from Tennessee, To’o To’o came in and gave an instant boost to the Buckeye defense. While he still had two years of collegiate eligibility remaining, he accomplished everything that he wanted to in his one season in Columbus, so the All-SEC and All-B1G linebacker opted for the NFL, and the move paid off in sunny, Southern California.

Third Round

No. 71 San Francisco 49ers: Jeremy Ruckert (TE)

He’s not the type of playmaking tight end that earns a lot of attention in pre-draft coverage, but with a far less crowded TE room in 2021, Ruckert proved that he was not only the best blocking tight end in the country, but also a more than capable pass-catcher as well. He will be a solid protector and check-down option for second-year QB Trey Lance.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Northwestern at Ohio State Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

No. 85 Denver Broncos: Josh Proctor (S)

Following a full season of being the Buckeyes’ starting single-high safety, Proctor rolled the dice on the NFL. While some — myself included — thought that another year in college would benefit him, Proctor knew that he was a Day 2 pick and understood the depth of talent welling up behind him in Columbus, so he made the jump to the NFL after a solid (but not great) year for the OSU secondary.

Fifth Round

No. 157 Jacksonville Jaguars: Antwuan Jackson (DT)

It’s been a long and winding road for Jackson to get to the NFL. While expectations were sky-high for him coming out of high school, he took a rather circuitous route that led him to Auburn, Junior College, and finally to Columbus before making the transition to the next level. Larry Johnson’s willingness to rotate rushmen allowed Jackson to get plenty of time on the field (and plenty of tape in the can), despite Garrett and Vincent being the more high-profile tackles this season.

Seventh Round

No. 255 Cleveland Browns: Demario McCall (CB/RB/WR/Returner/Who the hell knows?)

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

You didn’t think that I was going to the football gods were going to have a mock draft without Demario in it did you? Well, shame on you then. The gods and I are still 100% on the #FreeDemario train, and don’t you ever forget it.