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LGHL’s sure-fire, bet-your-bottom-dollar Ohio State 2023 NFL Draft first round predictions

Yeah, I wouldn’t actually bet your bottom dollar on this.

Ohio State v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

FINALLY! The 2023 NFL Draft starts tonight on ABC, ESPN, and the NFL Network, meaning that the crazy season that we have to suffer through every year in which sports media members and NFL “insiders” just start making shit up and losing all semblance of sanity is finally coming to an end.

Personally, I think there is waaaaaaaaay too long between the end of the season and the draft. As I said on Twitter earlier this week, the NFL should really move the draft to the first weekend after the end of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments. It would only save us a few weeks, but those few weeks are often the most painful ones to get through when it comes to the draft #discourse.

So, since it is finally time for teams to be on the clock, I am making my final, absolutely accurate, no chance these could be wrong predictions as to which Buckeyes will end up being first-round selections and where they will end up going.

First Round, No. 3: C.J. Stroud | Tennessee Titans (trade with Arizona)

The conversation around C.J. Stroud’s draft stock has been absolutely stupid, and earlier this week, I wrote about how tired of it I am, especially coming just two years after the equally stupid discussion around Justin Fields.

Whether its the fact that there’s too much time between the Super Bowl and the draft leading to media members needing to come up with increasingly bonkers hot takes; or all of the insiders and scouts needing to go off the board in order to prove how smart they are; or dumb people just generally talking out of their asses because that’s what dumb people do, the talk of cognitive tests, the history of Ohio State quarterbacks, and Stroud as a leader has been maddening.

But, if there’s anybody who knows just how special the Buckeye quarterback is, it is a former Buckeye. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Mike Vrabel would trade up to get Stroud. While Ryan Tannahill has been a solid starter, he’s not a star and he’s not the future; Stroud is both. Whether the Titans would keep the veteran or trade him away is to be seen, but Stroud in Nashville would be a really good fit.

First Round, No. 9: Paris Johnson Jr. | Chicago Bears

There have been reports that Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray loves Paris Johnson Jr., I mean, what quarterback wouldn’t? So, in trading the No. 3 pick for Tennesse’s 11th pick, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards were hoping PJJ would still be available. However, that will not come to pass as another QB who knows how to use his legs will get the benefit of the future All-Pro tackle.

Keeping with the theme of Buckeyes appreciating Buckeyes, Justin Fields needs a competent left tackle and there is none better in this draft than PJJ. If the Bears actually want to compete anytime soon, they need to protect Fields so that he can actually have a pocket to pass out of and doesn’t need to make scrambling the primary focus of the offense.

If Arizona doesn’t end up trading, I could see them taking Johnson at No. 3, but they need a lot of players, so trading down and getting extra picks makes sense.

First Round, No. 13: Jaxon Smith-Njigba | Green Bay Packers

The Packers did not select a wide receiver in the first round during the entire time that Aaron Rodgers was the team’s starting quarterback, so it would be absolutely hilarious if they took JSN just days after shipping A-Aron to the Jets.

It will be even more hysterical when Smith-Njigba ends up winning the 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award with Jordan Love throwing the ball to him.

First Round, No. 28: Dawand Jones | Cincinnati Bengals

I know that things have not been trending in the right direction for the gargantuan offensive lineman, but the Bengals need a right tackle and being from Indiana and playing for Ohio State, Dawand is essentially a hometown kid, so who better to protect Buckeye Joe?

It is very possible that Dawand slides into the second (or even third) round, but he has proven that he is a first-round talent. I know that the rumors and rumblings about his commitment have been increasing toward the end of the draft process, but anytime I hear a bunch of negative comments in the last few days before the draft, I assume that is at least hyperbolic and at worst out-right lies, both designed to serve as a smokescreen to disguise teams’ interest in a player. So, I still think there’s a pretty decent shot that this mountain of a man gets picked tonight, and what better place than down I-71?