2017 NFL Draft: Day 2

 

Curtis Samuel, WR (Carolina Panthers):

Curtis Samuel was the first Buckeye that was taken on Day 2 of the 2017 Draft, being selected with the 40th overall pick by the Panthers.  The Panthers have spent picks on back to back offensive studs due to the losses of Ohio State Alums Ted Ginn and Corey Brown during free agency.  With Samuel the Panthers will be getting a playmaker just like McCaffery who can play multiple positions.  Both players have the speed and they will help Cam Newton give opposing teams defenses fits.  Samuel will be used early and he will work in the slot, and he may see some time at Running Back.  Samuel is 5’11” and 196-pounds and turned in a 4.31 40-time in the combine.  His measurable and his talent will be utilized to spread the opposing defenses and keeping them honest during games.  He will share time with McCaffrey, but I feel like Ron Rivera will give both draftees ample opportunities to shine.

Raekwon McMillan, ILB (Miami Dolphins):

Raekwon McMillan, a recruit out of the Peach State was the second Buckeye taken in Round 2.  At 6’2″, 240 pounds he is the motor that was in charge of the Buckeye defense the last two and a half seasons.  He has the speed and the leadership abilities that will continue to flourish at the next level.  He is viewed as a 3 down linebacker and he must show development to see some playing time this fall.  McMillan is the first Inside Linebacker taken over Vanderbilt’s own Zach Cunningham, and he will be behind newly acquired addition Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso, who re-signed with the team this offseason.  Behind both of them McMillan will have the time to develop under Timmons, who arrived after time in Pittsburg and Alonso, who was still hasn’t established himself in the league yet.  McMillan’s only concern is in coverage, but he is a sure-tackler, who can stuff the run when called to.  He can become great with some time, so I can see him as a back-up for now, but he can flourish with the right coaches in place.

Pat Elflein, C (Minnesota Vikings):

Pat Elflein was the Swiss Army Knife out of Ohio State who can play multiple positions along the Offensive Line.  During the Ohio State Championship year Elflein began at Guard and then the following season he seamlessly switched to Center, where he earned the award for the Top Interior Lineman Award in his last season at Ohio State.  At 6’3″, 303-pounds he will compete with the likes of Joe Berger and Nick Easton for the starting Center gig in Minnesota.  If he cannot beat out the others at Center, Elflein can compete for the starting job at Guard opposite of former Ohio State Alum Alex Boone.  The Vikings have another Guard in waiting and all Elflein needs is an opportunity to play and earn playing time.  The Vikings drafted Dalvin Cook in the Second round and he will look to Elflein to block for the fellow rookie in the upcoming season.  Elflein is a tireless blocker that almost always finishes until the whistle is blown.  There are questions about his overall strength, but with an NFL Caliber strength and conditioning program, he will improve.

 

2017 NFL Draft: 1st Round

 

 

 

The Ohio State Buckeyes have been churning out talented prospects since Coach Meyer’s arrival in Columbus.  For the last five years, Ohio State has been a force both on the recruiting trail and they have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to depth and talent.  Meyer and company develop NFL caliber players and then reload once their star players leave to the next level.  This is an impressive feat as another group of talented prospects, three to be exact, have gone in Round 1 of the draft.  There are a few more Buckeyes that will hear their names called, but for now, let us see who was taken and by who.

Marshon Lattimore, CB (New Orleans Saints):

Lattimore has one year of full-time starter duties, but he made the best of it turning out a successful campaign as a starter.  It was a long time coming, but he persevered and showed his talent.  The Saints took Lattimore with the 11th Overall pick and they were in need of help at the Cornerback Position.  The Saints went Buckeye last year with Vonn Bell and Michael Thomas, and Lattimore will have some familiar faces on the roster.  Lattimore is an ultra-talented corner with the speed and technique to succeed.  He will most likely see some early playing time due to the lack of talent on the roster.

Malik Hooker, S (Indianapolis Colts):

Malik Hooker played Safety at Ohio State and is also another one-year starter who flourished during his lone season as a starter.  Hooker almost left as he sat impatiently behind Vonn Bell, but all things come with time.  Hooker has the ball hawking ability to get takeaways and the range to break up passes.  After the loss of Mike Adams, the Colts needed someone to take his place and with Hooker they have a playmaker who can be a game-breaker on defense.  During the draft process, Hooker was often compared to former Baltimore Raven great Ed Reed.  Interesting pick to say the least and as the second Safety taken, he will also most likely start from day 1 barring any unforeseen injuries.

Gareon Conley, CB (Oakland Raiders):

Gareon Conley, a two-year starter at Ohio State is another long and athletic Cornerback, that played under Coach Meyer and company.  Less than a week prior to the draft allegations of a rape were made, and his draft stock took a major hit, a near death blow that forced teams to pass on him.  Now that he has been drafted, he will have to work harder than ever because of this impending investigation.  He is another athletic and talented corner with good technique.  He will start guarding the slot until he proves that he can start for the Raiders.  The Raiders believed in him enough to take the chance on him, all we can do is wait and see.

Recruiting Spotlight: Sevyn Banks

The Coaching staff is hot on the recruiting trail, and once again they plucked another SEC type of player out of the South.  Banks is another lanky Defensive Back that will potentially join the Buckeyes ultra-talented Supreme18 and they could only improve from here on out.  Banks is a 6’1″, 186-pound Corner who can play Safety with his overall length.  This class will see a lot of their scholarships go toward the defense.  The Secondary, or BIA, will potentially lose this season’s starters IF things go like last year and IF the starters blossom during the season.  Banks did not follow in his brother’s footsteps and did not follow him to Florida, but this could be a good thing for recruiting Florida and the rest of the South. This recruiting cycle will be another one for the ages, stayed tuned in for some booms.  This class will be epic.

Recruiting Spotlight: Brenton Cox

Coach Johnson and Coach Meyer struck gold once again, plucking highly touted Defensive End Brenton Cox out of the talent rich state of Georgia.  Another notch is placed on their belts, as they add another talented Defensive End for Coach Johnson’s Rushmen package.  Cox is a hybrid and he is listed as a DE/OLB, and he would be paired with current Ohio State commit, Taron Vincent and they are still chasing more playmakers along the Defensive Line to add depth to compensate for the impending losses after next season because most of the starters are upperclassmen.

Cox is a monster that will only improve under the watchful eye of Larry Johnson.  He can bend with the best of them and he has the size and speed to boot.  He is currently 6’5″, 240 lbs. and he will be a terror along the edge for years to come.  Another great addition to what will be another stellar class for the Buckeyes.  This is the first commit since the two of the spring game, and there might be more to come. Go Bucks!

Here are his Junior season highlights below from Hudl.

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Post Spring Game Depth Chart: Quarterbacks

The Starter:

The Quarterback is what makes the offense go and after a rare poor performance combined with poor offensive play calling, J.T. Barrett quickly returned to redeem himself for one last season at the helm.  At the annual spring game, he showed why he was the starter, but his performance was far from perfect as he missed some of his receivers.  He will lead this years Buckeye team to show that he is capable of being an deadly passer instead of someone who relies too heavily on his legs to make plays.  Barrett will be an assassin because it is evident that Coach Wilson and Coach Day are making an impact with the Quarterbacks, but lets see how they execute when the season begins.

Back-up Quarterback-A:

Joe Burrow was impressive when Barrett was pulled off of the field.  He had three scores through the air and a bunch of yards, and he flat out was impressive.  He found receivers at will and he showed that he could play at the Division I level.  Coach Meyer has quite the dilemma on his hands, but it is a good problem to have.  Burrow showed his ability to sling the rock and read the defenses he faced.  Burrow has done all he can to secure the job after his performance at the spring game.  It is up to Coach Meyer at this point.

Back-up Quarterback-B:

Dwayne Haskins also threw for three touchdowns, and he too showed that he could play at the Division I level.  He found his receiver and showed the ability to throw it deep, with a silky smooth touch and deadly accuracy.  He will look to earn the backup job this season, and after J.T. leaves, he will look to beat out Burrow for the starting job.  He is a year younger than Burrow and has the wheels and the biggest arm out of the rest of the Quarterbacks.  If he can establish a foothold, he has the potential to succeed.

Scout Team Quarterback/Red Shirt:

Highly touted Quarterback out of Las Vegas was one of the biggest wins in last years recruiting class.  He had quite the highlight reel and he established that during the spring game after he weaved through two defenders for a rushing touchdown.  He was live and he did not have the black jersey on, so it is safe to say that he will work the scout team duties.  He isn’t a terrible player and he has the traits that Coach Meyer looks for in a Quarterback.  He has the arms, the speed and the accuracy, and he will be a star in the near future.

 

Spring Game Fever: The Spectacle We Love

The spectacle of the Ohio State Spring Game is upon us.  This is one of the biggest offseason events that the Buckeyes host and this year will be no different.  With many blue-chip recruits of all ranks, the Buckeyes will look to rise up in the rankings with a great showing, that is looking like it won’t disappoint.

***  The storylines will feature a brand new Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach in Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day, it will return a good amount of starters from last season with J.T. Barrett on offense and the majority of the Defensive Lineman.  The inexperience and the lack of creativity and variety was a problem, but with a few old pieces in places and some new faces on the coaching staff, this makes for another intriguing storyline to follow.  Look for a more improved offense that will tire out the defense with their upgraded tempo.  Will they find their next version of Curtis Samuel?  Will they find their next Devin Smith, Braxton Miller or Mike Thomas?

***  Zach Smith and Tony Alford will be tasked with providing playmakers and balance for the Buckeyes offense with members of their respective units.  Will Coach Smith find the next stars for his unit?  He needs Zone 6 to produce another playmaker and establish his role in the offense.  The Buckeyes will have the talent, but can they find the playmakers to follow what Mike Thomas, Devin Smith, and Braxton Miller have built?  Will Coach Alford they find their next version of Curtis Samuel or the next Ezekiel Elliott?  He has Mike Weber, who acted as their workhorse, but will Antonio Williams and J.K Dobbins step up?  Or can walk-on Jerimiah Knight carve out a steady role for himself?

***  Look for new Linebackers Coach Bill Davis to find his niche from within the Schiano captained defense.  He took over for Luke Fickell and he looks to use his extensive NFL coaching experiences to bridge the gap left by Fickell.  He lost Raekwon McMillan, but he retained Chris Worley, who is now the starter at the Mike spot, Dante Booker, who is coming off of an injury-plagued season and Jerome Baker, who had a coming out party last season.  He also has a lot of talented personnel waiting for their chance to reload the Buckeyes.

***  Coach Schiano and Coach Coombs will have the task of rebuilding the Scarlet Curtain or B.I.A., the Best In America.  Three of their starters, Malik Hooker, Garon Conley and Marshon Lattimore left for the NFL, leaving only Damon Webb as the only returning starter.  The Buckeyes signed five talented DB’s during NSD and they will look to make an immediate impact or contribution to the lack of established starters.

***  Last, but not least, the recruiting aspect for this game will be one of great importance.  Many blue-chippers will come to see if their prospective unit succeeds or what improvements have been made.  The potential of someone pledging their allegiance to the Buckeyes are good, but only time will tell.  Both the offense and the defense need to put on a show, and with a few Buckeye commits present, you really never know what could occur.

***  P.S.  The BTN chose to air the Ohio State Spring Game over TTUN’s.  Lol!

 

Draft A Buckeye: Cameron Johnston

 

Cameron Johnston took over punting duties for Ohio State and he was quite the weapon.  Johnston hails from Australia and he turned out the be a dependable weapon during special teams with his patented directional and rugby punts.  He has the ability to shift field position and put opposing teams in a bind, with little to no room.  Johnston averaged 46.7 yards per kick in 2016 and he was second in the nation as he averaged 43.9 net yards.  He also has wheels.  He ran a 4.92 on the 40-yard dash and that could be another weapon, if he is willing to stick his nose out during special teams opportunities.  Johnston is destined to go in either day 3 or go undrafted.  Maybe he will be the next undrafted special teams ace thta makes it in the big leagues.

Draft A Buckeye: Noah Brown

 

Noah Brown blew up against Oklahoma, showcasing his ability to out-muscle opposing DB’s.  He showed the ability to separate and high point the ball over unsuspecting defenders.  It was certainly a shock for him to leave, but he has the size and the speed to make it if a team takes a chance on him in this year’s draft.  Brown is 6’2″, 222 lbs. and he can be a monster, and has the ability to take over during games. Brown is susceptable to the injury bug and two seasons ago, he broke his leg, which caused him to redshirt that year.  Last season, he was the featured peice, but then the gameplans moved away from him as the season progressed.  He has some film, but he doesn’t, but he is an intriguing prospect due to his measurables.  He is projected to go as early as day 2 of the draft, but he is more likely going to be taken sometime in day 3.  He may follow Jailin Marshall and end up being an undrafted free agent, but who knows, the draft tends to be unpredictable.

Draft A Buckeye: Pat Elflein

 

Pat Elflein has been an anchor on the Buckeye Offensive Line for the past few seasons.  He has the talent to plug into either Offensive Guard spots and he can also be effective as a Center.  At 6’3″, 303 lbs. Elflein, last seasons Rimington winner will be a valuable commodity for a Offensive Line needy team in the NFL.  Although a tad bit inconsistent with his strentgh, his effort level and his dedication to his craft are traits that most teams covet.  He needs to improve his strength, but his experience as a wrestler would help him when placed in the game.  Versatility is the name of the game and Elflein is a proven asset at Guard and at Center.  He is projected to go in the 2nd Round.

Draft A Buckeye: Raekwon McMillan

 

Raekwon McMillan was one of Urban Meyers most prized recruits coming out of SEC territory and he has grown into a leader on defense for the Buckeyes.  At 6’2″, 240 lbs., McMillan is viewed as a speedy Middle Linebacker who can play sideline to sideline, stuff the run and diagnose plays.  The former Butkus Award recipient played Quarterback for the Buckeyes defense and directed his troops as he sees fit.  He was a leader and he should blossom and evolve after a team takes a chance on him.  He ran a 4.61 in the 40, 7.15 on the 3 cone, 4.39 in the 20-yard shuttle and an 11.84 in the 60-yard shuttle.  He is athletic and flat out fast for a linebacker, and he will be used sparingly until he finds a foothold or if injuries occur.  This is not detracting from his talent, but he had a decent season but was less productive than previous seasons.  McMillan will be an asset to a team as he is projected to be drafted in the 2nd to 3rd Round of this year’s draft.