I readily confess that I am one of those rare individuals who spends a considerable amount of time on the NFL Draft. Considering that I remember the days when the NFL Draft was held on a weekday, and I would have to come up with a convenient excuse as to why I was missing school that day, having the NFL Draft spread out over a three day period suits me fine.
I am not going to spend too much time on the now-former Ohio State players who were selected in the first round on Thursday night, other than to congratulate them and thank them for all of their contributions to Ohio State football over the previous seasons. I do completely agree that the character assassination of C.J. Stroud was beyond foolish.
As someone who interned in the scouting department with the then-Washington Redskins in the summer of 1996, I do know how intensively NFL teams scrutinize draft prospects. And I also believe in the old statement that “overanalysis leads to paralysis” - instead of trusting their eyes and the voluminous amounts of game film, personnel people look for every possible reason or perceived flaw in a prospect to justify why they did not select that player. The most beautiful diamond in the world has flaws, if you look long and hard enough for them.
Enough with the soapbox. Below are some ideas as to how I believe days 2 and 3 will go for the Buckeyes who are in the 2023 NFL Draft...
- Day 2 (Rounds 2 and 3): It is entirely possible that mammoth offensive tackle Dawand Jones was a late first round selection. Jones could emerge as a starter at right tackle and play in the NFL for several years, barring injury. If Jones is not picked in the first round, I would be tremendously surprised if he makes it out of round 2.
My other guess for a Friday night selection will come in the form of Dawand Jones’ teammate on the Ohio State offensive line in center Luke Wypler. Wypler played well in the 2022 Peach Bowl against Georgia’s defensive line, and could be a solid player in the NFL. I am going to guess Wypler will hear his name called on Friday night, sometime in round 3, before the second night of the NFL comes to its conclusion.
2. Day 3 (Rounds 4 through 7): This is where the good NFL teams traditionally clean up. When you can find a player(s) to come in and contribute, possibly becoming long-term starters, that is where you see the playoff and Super Bowl contenders emerge.
Zach Harrison might be selected on day 2, but it will not be shocking if he lasts until day 3. Teams are always looking for pass rushers, and Harrison has the physical skills to potentially emerge. Ronnie Hickman is the type of player who is a “tweener” at defensive back that could get a look in the later rounds. Cameron Brown might be selected late, as NFL teams are always in search of cornerbacks, if teams were able to get a handle on how healthy Brown is for upcoming training camps. Brown did not run at the NFL Combine, and battled injury these last two years. If Brown does not get selected, that could lead to...
3. Also Day 3 (Priority Free Agents): This is right after the NFL Draft concludes on Saturday evening. Yes, there are hurt feelings and bruised egos, but NFL teams are scrambling to sign players who were not picked in the seven round draft. This is where a few Ohio State players could be determining which offer(s) to select.
Defensive linemen Taron Vincent and Jerron Cage seem likely to be going the free agent route. Here’s another player who should get a call from a NFL team, at least for an invitation to training camp — former Ohio State placekicker Noah Ruggles. Most NFL teams avoid using a draft pick on a kicker, and invite them to camps on a tryout basis.