Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
Today’s Question: Who will be the first Buckeye drafted in 2022?
Gene’s Take: Garrett Wilson
This may seem like an obvious answer, and that’s because it is.
Justin Fields broke a five-year stretch of Ohio State’s first player taken off the board in the NFL Draft being a defensive player, beginning with Joey Bosa in 2016 and running through last year’s selection of Chase Young. The last time the Buckeyes saw an offensive player selected ahead of a defensive player before the Chicago Bears selected Fields was wide receiver Devin Smith going to the New York Jets in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. I’m here to tell you that Ohio State is going to see an offensive player come off the board first in back-to-back years when Garrett Wilson is selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Wilson burst onto the scene as a five-star freshman, and he has done more than live up to the hype of the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver out of Texas in the 2019 recruiting class. Despite playing behind some other big names in the room in his first season in Columbus, Wilson showed flashes right out of the gate that he was going to be a special talent, still managing to haul in five touchdowns as a first-year player. We got to see the full skillset of the 6-foot, 193-pound pass-catcher on display this past season, even in a shortened campaign, as he racked up 723 yards and six TDs in eight games played, including more than his fair share of highlight catches.
Garrett Wilson has everything you could ask for from a wide receiver. He features some of the most reliable hands on the team, he runs crisp routes, features tremendous speed, and has the innate ability to win those one-on-one battles against any corner that tries to slow him down. On top of all that, he is incredibly versatile, moving to the slot this past season after playing mostly on the outside as a freshman and now going back to the outside in year three. NFL scouts have to love what they’ve seen on tape from Wilson, and there is every possibility that he is not only Ohio State’s top player in the 2022 NFL Draft, but the top wide receiver on the board overall.
The Buckeyes have sent some phenomenal wide receivers to the NFL in recent years, including big names like Michael Thomas, Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. No disrespect to any of those guys, who have put together excellent careers in their own right, but I think Garrett Wilson has all the tools to be even better than his predecessors.
Josh’s Take: Thayer Munford
Fine, fine. I’ll go off the board like John Gruden:
I really believe Thayer Munford could surprise people and end up being the first Ohio State Buckeye being drafted in 2022. He does not play a flashy skill position, but was trusted as the blindside bodyguard of Justin Fields for two seasons. He has all the measurables, and will likely garner increased media attention as the unquestioned leader and cornerstone of this year’s offensive line.
Munford will enter the 2021 season with 46 games already under his belt, which is not something many (if any) other prospects can point to on their football resumé. Current coaches love his work ethic and attitude, and potential future coaches will love his tape and experience against high-level competition. If football IQ and stats are not impressive enough, Munford has what nobody can teach: size. He might not be cut out of granite like a Tyron Smith, but he’s no slouch at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds, with long arms.
If you compare him to 2021 tackles, he can be viewed as a having some combination of what made Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater early first round picks. Sewell looks like a mountain of a man, but he only has about 10 pounds on Munford. Sewell is viewed by many as a generational talent, but don’t forget that he played half a freshman year and sat out another season. Munford has already played about 30 more games than Sewell, against better competition. Slater was a three-year starter in the same league as Munford, and earned fewer accolades. He was named third team All-Big Ten as a sophomore, honorable mention as a junior, and opted out of his senior season. This is not to bash Sewell or Slater – they look like great prospects. The point is: Munford is a stud in his own right.
Lastly, and at the risk of putting out bad vibes: no Buckeye is a sure thing to be drafted high in 2022. However, Munford seems to be a safer bet due to his own control over the situation. Injuries aside, other Ohio State prospects are dependent upon others for stats or success. Olave and Wilson will only be as good as the quarterback play. Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith have all the tools but play as part of a unit. If ones goes off, they might receive the Chase Young triple-team treatment. Sevyn Banks could be burned by an inexperienced secondary that consistently gets… burnt. If he were to turn into a lockdown corner, his reputation could still suffer due to guilt by association.
If Thayer Munford plays another 12-14 games at his own established level, he could be a top five or 10 draft pick. He will be viewed as “that stud left tackle from OSU”. When those guys truly come around, they get picked high. See: Orlando Pace or Taylor Decker. It’s not fair to put that projection on Munford, but is a realistic possibility.
Who has the right answer to today’s question: Who will be the first Buckeye drafted in 2022?
This poll is closed
Gene: Garrett Wilson
Josh: Thayer Munford