This year’s NFL Draft is finally here, taking place in Las Vegas, and the Ohio State Buckeyes are looking to be well represented once again. Ohio State has seven former players projected to go in the seven rounds and three more draft eligible players who will be looking to find homes this weekend as well. For the Buckeyes, this is an opportunity to extend their lead in total first round picks, where they currently sit at 85, and will also look to add to their 473 total NFL Draft picks.
Ohio State’s list of projected players that will be selected in the draft includes: Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Jeremy Ruckert, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Haskell Garrett, Tyreke Smith and Thayer Munford. Scouring the mock draft data base these seem to be the consensus draft picks this season for the Buckeyes. The former Buckeyes are projected to go all over the place, so this will be a three-day affair for the program as their next set of players head to the professional level.
Today we are going to go through the list of players, project their landing spots, and discuss some of the traits that will make the former Buckeyes successful at the next level.
The All-American receiver is the first projected Buckeye to be taken in most mock drafts. Wilson left Ohio State with 143 receptions, 2,213 yards, and 24 total touchdowns. Throughout his career, Wilson used his athleticism to make spectacular catches as well as big plays in space after the catch. His skillset is versatile and his ability at the catch point makes him a definitive No. 1 receiver.
Wilson is projected to three teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, and Washington Commanders. Though he is not the consensus No. 1 receiver in the draft, there is no reason he should fall out of the top-15 picks. This selection will extend Ohio State’s first round NFL draft picks total to 86 players. We will not have to wait for long to hear Wilson’s name on Thursday.
Final Scouting Take: “Garrett Wilson is a dynamic receiver who has the lateral quickness and explosiveness to take any throw or handoff the distance. His foot speed and balance let him consistently miss the first defender with the ball in his hands and make him dangerous on underneath throws and screens to create yards after the catch.” - B/R NFL Draft Scouting Department
Round Projection: 1st Round, Pick 10 New York Jets | Full Scouting Report
The Californian turned Ohio State all-time receiving touchdowns leader solidified himself as a first round pick with an impressive combine performance. Olave ran an official 4.39 40-yard dash and had decent jumping numbers in the other drills he participated in. In his career Olave was a touchdown machine and was a master at creating separation at the top of his routes. A team looking for a quarterback friendly receiver will find that in Chris Olave.
Not projected as consistently as Garrett Wilson, Olave has a list of team names with a lot of variety. When asked, he said the Packers were an interesting team and he thinks Aaron Rodgers is the greatest quarterback of all time. With projections to the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints, and the Dallas Cowboys, he will likely play for a competitive team in the NFL. Wherever he ends up, the Buckeyes will add one more to their all time first round picks total, and Brian Hartline will have an incredible recruiting pitch made for him.
Final Scouting Take: “The quiet storm of the Ohio State wide receiver corps, Olave is smooth, steady and makes things happen. His movements are fluid and easy from snap to the catch and all points between. He’s fast but efficient and plays with the bend and foot agility to uncover on all three levels.” -Lance Zierlein (NFL.com)
Round Projection: 1st Round | Full Scouting Report
Ohio State’s tight end usage may hurt Ruckert in the end, but he still will be picked early in the draft. At Ohio State, Ruckert was a solid blocker as an inline tight end who brought physicality to the position in the run game. Despite only 54 career catches and 615 receiving yards, he showed he was reliable and has a solid resume of spectacular catches. The Buckeyes require their tight ends to be well rounded, and Ruckert has fit the mold better than any of his previous predecessors.
The consensus on Ruckert isn’t clear in the mock draft community, with some having him as first rounder. More likely than not he will not be a first round pick given his light resume, but many experts have called him a sleeper who will rise on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. This makes it hard to project where he might end up, but teams are always looking to add talented tight ends.
Final Scouting Take: “The ceiling is there for Ruckert to be a much better pro player than he is a college receiver. In the blocking phases of the position, Ruckert is used often in split-flow fits and has the mass necessary to crack the end man on the line of scrimmage effectively. That experience will prove helpful as he looks to acclimate to an NFL responsibility that is likely to ask him to play in the box.” -Kyle Crabbs (The Draft Network)
Round Projection: 2nd Round | Full Scouting Report
A multi-year starter for the Buckeyes who played both tackle positions for Ohio State in his career. After coming in a little small for a tackle, it took time for the the Florida native to get on the field. Once he was on the field he became one of the best pass protectors in the Big Ten. His athleticism allowed him to be a powerful run blocker, and he was comfortable getting to the second level when his responsibility was to block linebackers or in screens.
Another Buckeye with quite a bit of range in his projections, but one of the most common ones is the Cincinnati Bengals at the end of the first round. The more likely scenario is a team snags him in the middle of the second round to the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, or another tackle needy team. If Petit-Frere doesn’t end up starting right away, he will add a versatile depth piece with swing tackle potential.
Final Scouting Take: “Petit-Frere has the athleticism, violence, size, and urgency to be a scheme-versatile blocker, especially for teams that value run blocking. Even after an up-and-down 2021 campaign, there’s upside worth investing in. Late Day 2 or early Day 3, Petit-Frere can be a solid swing tackle early with starting potential.” -Ian Cummings (Pro Football Network)
Round Projection: 3rd Round | Full Scouting Report
Garrett had a tumultuous obstacle in his career, but he did not stop let that stop him from accomplishing his goals of making it to the NFL. The former Buckeye does not have ideal size or athletic numbers for the scheme he is projected to play, but has a lot of production as a pass rusher with 7.5 sacks. A consistent player in the run game, he left something to be desired in consistent play strength against higher level IOL competition.
As a potential fit in the NFL, he will need to find a team that runs a 4-3 defense due to him being a traditional 3-technique defensive tackle. If he can prove that he can be a 3-4 end that could add a lot of value, but as of now he is projected Day 3 pick. A team looking to find a depth piece in late in the draft will find that in Garrett. He also brings a pass rushing skillset that isn’t common among interior defensive linemen.
Final Scouting Take: “Garrett provides alignment flexibility and versatility to a defense. He can align at the 1T, 3T, and 5T at any time. This fits his single-gap penetrating style of play. He offers special teams value. He plays on punt return and field goal block units.” -Damian Parson (The Draft Network)
Round Projection: 4th Round | Full Scouting Report
Ohio State has not had a first round defensive linemen since Chase Young went second overall in the draft. This won’t start again with Smith who did not live up to his high recruiting ranking. He battled injuries throughout his career, but he was always a productive player when he was on the field.
Smith brings plus athleticism and that showed in his jumping ability at the combine with 34” vertical and 117” broad jump. He left a lot to be desired as a consistent pass rusher with only 7 career sacks. Smith is athletic which gives him the versatility to fit into a 3-4 scheme as a outside linebacker or a 4-3 scheme as a traditional defensive end. His projections have him in the fourth and fifth round to a variety of different teams.
Final Scouting Take: “Elastic, long-limbed edge defender whose unbridled, attacking style brings both highs and lows in every game. Smith’s urgent motor is an ingredient that gives him a chance to find some success in the pros, but his inefficiencies and lack of body control limit his ceiling.” -Lance Zierlein (NFL.com)
Round Projection: 4th Round | Full Scouting Report
Munford was the “Block O” number recipient for the 2021 season, and he brings a long list of intangibles into the draft. A multi-year starter at left tackle, he was moved to guard this past season. This gave him a lot of versatility, and with his age being on the older side for a rookie, his versatility will be a major separating factor against other prospects.
As a projected sixth round pick, Munford will have to wait a little bit to live out his dream of getting his name called in the draft. Regardless, he brings a lot of experience and will be a great depth piece for the organization that selects him. Being able to play four positions on the offensive line makes him a valuable asset in the draft.
Final Scouting Take: “He’s got the strapping frame to be an NFL tackle if need be, but his most recent play has cast some doubt on a projection there. Munford now, with a successful career at Ohio State behind him, will be an option for NFL teams who run a lot of inside zone concepts as the Buckeyes have offered him as both a tackle and guard.” -Kyle Crabbs (The Draft Network)
Round Projection: 6th Round | Full Scouting Report
Projected Undrafted Buckeyes
Not every draft eligible Buckeye will end up hearing their name called over the three day event, but Saturday night and Sunday are a huge day for the remaining Ohio State players. The list isn’t long, but the three other Buckeyes will find opportunities at the next level.
Master Teague III: Teague is a physical, one cut running back who has shown he can be an every down back. For Teague, his athleticism he displayed at Ohio State’s pro day could potentially get him drafted, but it might be better for him to pick his own team in free agency.
Demario McCall: McCall’s career at Ohio State was a roller coaster that took place on both sides of the football. McCall is an explosive athlete, but is a little undersized for any of the positions he might play at the NFL level. His return experience as well as other special team experience makes him an interesting potential fit for NFL teams.
Antwuan Jackson Jr.: Jackson impressed at his Ohio State Pro Day, but he still has not garnered much attention as a draft prospect. He can play both tackle spots and looked lean enough to be considered as a strong side defensive end. His work with Larry Johnson could pay long term dividends, but as of now he will just need to find the right fit to get started.
The NFL Draft is always a fun event, and even in a relatively down year Ohio State will be well represented as the former Buckeyes head to the next level. This years draft does not have a lot of consensus, so anything can happen. One thing we know for sure is a long list of Buckeyes will realize their dreams and become NFL players.
Ohio State will extend its lead in first round daft picks, and the Buckeyes who get drafted will help with future recruiting. The players only have one thing left to do and that is wait until they hear their name called. Overall, this time of year is always exciting and now we wait and see where the former Buckeyes end up.