With one week of college football in the books and the NFL season kicking off tomorrow night night, it seems only fitting to put college and pros together and speculate about next year’s NFL Draft.
The three-day, seven-round 2022 draft will be held from April 28-30, 2022. By the time that the draft rolls around we’ll know if the Buckeyes won another Big Ten title and, perhaps, a national championship. We’ll also know which Ohio State players played exceptionally well — and which ones didn’t.
Obviously, the Bucks have dominated the drafts of late. Starting in the 2016 draft, Ohio State has not had fewer than six players selected in any given year. And, aside from last year when Justin Fields was the only one, they’ve had multiple players chosen in the first round in each draft class.
The top year, I guess, was the 2016 draft, when the Buckeyes had 12 players drafted, including five in the first round: Joey Bosa, Ezekiel Elliott, Eli Apple, Taylor Decker, and Darron Lee.
What will happen this year? A couple of players who would have gone highly in the 2021 draft came back, and players got an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19, so things are a bit up in the air. But here goes.
I don’t see any Buckeye running backs getting drafted, and the quarterbacks are all, essentially, rookies. On the other hand, Ohio State is loaded with experienced receivers and linemen (on both sides of the ball).
Garrett Wilson, WR
Chris Olave, WR
Haskell Garrett, DL
If I were running the draft for an NFL team, I’d pick Olave ahead of Wilson. I love Olave and have since that Michigan game in his freshman year. He’s a great route-runner, getting separation with quick cuts, and has outstanding hands.
Wilson, however, will probably go ahead of Olave in the draft, though I think both will go in the first round. Wilson has the athleticism — speed, jump, hang-time; he gets separation by blowing past defenders. NFL scouts sing his praises. By the way, Garrett has 73 receptions for 1,155 yards (15.8 yds/rec.) and 11 touchdowns. Olave, in his three years, has hauled in 110 passes for 1,766 yards (16.05 average) and 22 touchdowns. Both added nicely to those stats against Minnesota.
Haskell Garrett (6-foot-2, 300 pounds) may be a surprise projection here, but I see him really making a statement. I think that he’ll practically stop middle runs by himself and provide enough push up the middle on passing plays to give that army of edge rushers shots at the quarterback. His 32-yard touchdown run on the fumble recovery against Minnesota was just an appetizer.
Zach Harrison, DE
Sevyn Banks, CB
Nicholas Petit-Frere, OL
Some draft analysts have Zach Harrison and Sevyn Banks in the first round. I see them in the second. Harrison will be good, but he’ll have to share his reps with young players who may well turn out to be better. At season’s end, when we look at his stats, especially tackles for loss and sacks, he may not have as many as Tyreke Smith, Jack Sawyer, or J.T. Tuimoloau.
As for Banks, I regard him as the best of the defensive backs. And, if Ohio State is really DBU, then somebody will get drafted pretty high. Sevyn Banks. But we haven’t really seen him star yet, and we didn’t see him at all against the Gophers. I hope that this is his year.
I also think that one of the offensive tackles — either Thayer Munford or Nicholas Petit-Frere will go in the second round, the other in the third. I pick Petit-Frere for Round 2. Both tackles are huge (in the 6-foot-6, 320 range) and both are strong pass blockers and can move people out on running plays.
Thayer Munford, OL (This is where I put Munford, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go higher.)
Jeremy Ruckert, TE
Tyreke Smith, DE
Now, we’re really getting into guesswork. I believe, though, that both Jeremy Ruckert and Tyreke Smith will be drafted. Smith impressed me all last year, and although he, like Harrison, will have to share snaps at edge, he’s going to open people’s eyes. Everybody knows that OSU uses tight ends primarily as blockers — except near the end zone. Consequently, Ruckert has caught only 28 passes in his three years, going for only 306 yards, but also for nine touchdowns. That’s about one TD for every three receptions. Some NFL teams will be interested.
Teradja Mitchell, LB
Josh Proctor, S
Harry Miller, OL
We just have to see more of these guys to make an informed projection. Miller, too, missed the Minnesota game, but Mitchell and Proctor both played well, I thought.
My final count shows at least nine Buckeyes drafted and three in the first round. Pretty much par for the course the past few years. And more than enough to keep attracting top recruits to Columbus.