My Postseason Draft Predictions

If you are a regular “MOTSAG” reader, then you would know that several weeks ago I gave my predictions on which underclassmen would declare for the draft, and then a prediction on which seniors would get drafted. Obviously, I underestimated the amount of underclassmen that would declare for the draft. Of the 10 players seriously pondering leaving, only one stayed, and that was Pat Elflein. Also, since the draft obviously hasn’t happened yet, my original predictions haven’t been proven correct or incorrect, so as far as the seniors, my prediction for their draft stock will likely stay similar.

Whether you are a crazed Ohio State fan, or just like to watch, or read about them every once in a while, these underclassmen’s names should be very familiar. Some of them were highly recruited players coming out of high school, and others have developed into stars while under Urban Meyer and the Ohio State staff. Let’s start with Michael Thomas.

Mike, or as many of you know him, “CantGuardMike” wasn’t very highly recruited coming out of high school. He went to a prep school, with Cardale, and then came to Columbus. He had a slow freshman season, and then he even redshirted his true sophomore year. It was a tough year for him since he wasn’t used to being “benched”. The next year, his RS Sophomore year, he ended up being the most complete WR Ohio State had on it’s roster. This past year, even though the team didn’t have a great passing year as a whole, Mike showed that he was/is an elite receiver. Mike is as tough, skilled, and competitive guy as you’ll find. It also doesn’t hurt that his uncle is Keyshawn Johnson. I think Mike will be drafted in the late parts of the first round.

Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell have been the starting safeties for the Buckeyes these past two years. They helped take the defense from bad, to arguably best in the country. While these two were partners in the defensive backfield, they have contrasting styles. Vonn is a shorter, quicker guy with good coverage skills, and isn’t afraid to come down and stop the run. Tyvis is a taller, stronger defender who isn’t quite as solid in coverage as Vonn. I say this, but many NFL scouts say they prefer Tyvis over Vonn. Still, Vonn is the top ranked safety in this draft class, so I think he will be a first round selection. Tyvis, on the other hand, wasn’t expected to leave Ohio State. Many thought he needed another year of development. So, despite what some scouts say, I believe Tyvis Powell will be about a 5th round pick.

Another defensive back from Ohio State that declared for the draft was Eli Apple. Eli is the prototype for the type of corners that Urban wants at Ohio State; long body with speed to run with receivers. That’s exactly what Eli brings to the table. Some people questioned his ability to stay with speedy receivers, but against Notre Dame he showed he can play with anybody. With the unteachable characteristics that Eli has, I believe he will be a first round pick.

Two more defenders from the 2013 class that declared was Joey Bosa and Darron Lee. One was very much expected to leave, and the other one was questionable. I’m sure you can figure out the ones I’m speaking of. Since after his freshman season, everybody knew Joey was going to be a star. After his sophomore season, everybody knew he was going to leave and be a very high draft pick. So, it’s no surprise Joey left. I, along with may others, believe Joey is the best player in college football, so inevitably I think he should be the 1st overall pick in the draft. Ultimately though, I think he will be selected 2nd to the Cleveland Browns (bless his soul). Like I was pointing towards earlier, Darron wasn’t necessarily expected to leave after 3 years. He came in to Ohio State as a skinny 3 star QB, and after his RS freshman season, he was looked at as one of the best linebackers in the nation. So, it’s possible Darron gets picked in the 1st round, but I believe he will be a second round selection.

These next few underclassmen that declared all played on the offensive side of the ball. They came in the form of Ezekiel Elliott, Cardale Jones, and Jalin Marshall. As for Zeke, a few years ago, many people thought that the RB was a dying position in football. This arose from the fact that very few, if any RBs were being selected in the 1st round of the draft, coupled with the evolution of the game, and the shorter “life-span” for the RBs. This year, though, Todd Gurley proved that selecting a RB in the 1st round can pay dividends. Personally, I think Zeke is better than what Todd Gurley was, so I expect Zeke to go mid-1st round. As for Cardale, he could’ve been selected in the top 3 rounds last year had he decided to leave. After a poor season this year, it doesn’t seem as if Dale’s draft stock is nearly as high. I still think he will get drafted, mostly just because of the size and arm strength he has that all NFL teams crave. He will get drafted near the same time as Tyvis, so I think he will be selected around the 5th round as well. Finally, I was honestly surprised when Jalin Marshall announced that he was leaving for the NFL. After all, this is just his 3rd year every playing wide receiver, and his 1st year playing on the outside. I think he could’ve gained the most by coming back for another year, but with his athleticism, once the 4th round comes along, teams won’t be able to pass on him. I think he ends up being a 3rd or 4th round selection.

And for the seniors, I don’t think there are as many of them that will get drafted. The only guys who will get drafted are Braxton Miller, Taylor Decker, Adolphus Washington, Josh Perry, and Nick Vannett. As a first year WR, Braxton will probably get drafted in the 5th or 6th simply because of how great an athlete is. Had he been an unproven athlete doing the same thing, he would not get drafted. Taylor Decker is an elite offensive tackle. He has ideal size at 6’8″, and has anchored the Ohio State line for 2 years (3 if you count when he played RT). Taylor has potential to go first round, but I would say he gets picked very early in the 2nd round. Adolphus Washington had an outstanding year, and his future was looking very bright until he got in trouble with the law. If he and NFL teams can move beyond that situation, I believe Adolphus should be a 1st round pick. Josh Perry has been a rock for the “Silver Bullets.” He has been a silent tackling machine. He’s got great size and strength, with above average speed for his size. Josh has the makings to be a 2nd round pick. Finally, Nick Vannett has been an outstanding TE for Ohio State. He often gets overlooked because in our offense, the TE isn’t utilized much in the passing game. NFL teams will thoroughly watch his film and see that he does great will called upon to run a route, and is fantastic at staying in the backfield to protect the QB. He’s a very unselfish player. I think he is a 5th round talent, which is solid for a tight end.

Overall, we should expect 13 Buckeyes to get drafted in this upcoming draft. It’s going to be an exciting time as the guys we’ve all come to know and love move on to live out their dreams and play at the next level. Don’t be worried about this hurting the team next season, though. Will the team be inexperienced next year? Yes. But will they have talent? Absolutely, and some of, if not the best in the nation at that. The future is bright at Ohio State, and like with getting good assistant coaches, you have to deal with them leaving after a few years. But, you know what that means? A new star coach will come in because he wants that same opportunity. Enjoy this time as an Ohio State fan, because we are lucky. Go Bucks!

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