Ohio State football will be part of the 2022 NFL Draft, perhaps more early than often.
The 87th edition of the league’s talent procurement meeting is scheduled to begin in Las Vegas on Thursday night, and a handful of Buckeyes are good bets to be selected before it ends Saturday afternoon.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for multiple teams, has Wilson No. 4 overall on his big board with Olave 15th.
“He’s a fun player to study,” Jeremiah said of Olave. “I think the reason why you see him married with so many different teams in all these mock drafts is that he fits. He’s a silky smooth route runner who can do so many different things. He tracks the ball really, really well. He’s incredibly smart.
“Their coaches down there rave about him. They love him. He just needs to get a little bit stronger. That’s kind of the one knock on Chris, but he’s been doing it since he got there, whether it was blocking a punt against Michigan as a freshman. He’s always found a way to make plays.”
3. Jeremy Ruckert likely will be the third Buckeye picked, but not on night one.
Lots of ink has been spilled and pixels used to describe the lack of involvement of Ohio State tight ends in the passing game, so it comes as little surprise Ruckert has been written about as someone who could have a bigger impact in the NFL than college.
This being seen as a weak draft for his position could boost Ruckert’s draft stock, too, if a team in the market for a tight end could be moved to take him a round earlier then he might go in other years.
Jeremiah and PFF are not as high on Ruckert, ranking him 107th and 114th, respectively, while NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks has him as the No. 3 tight end.
“As a rugged blocker with soft hands and polished receiving skills, he is an intriguing option for a team looking for a developmental prospect to throw into the rotation,” Brooks wrote.
4. A pair of offensive linemen have dissimilar issues heading into the draft.
Thayer Munford stayed an extra year, and Nicholas Petit-Frere left a year early, but whether either made the right decision is still up for debate.
Munford was a three-year starter at left tackle before playing left guard most of last season.
Having tape of playing both positions could be an asset, but he could also be viewed as a ‘tweener with the body for one position and the movement ability for the other.
Petit-Frere arrived at Ohio State needing to add a lot of weight — and he did — but questions remain about his overall strength and stoutness for the position.
He is still reputed to have the athletic ability that made him a five-star prospect, but his play was up and down last season. In particular he got a rough go from Penn State and Michigan, two teams with big-time pass rushers who will be picked early this week.
PFF had Munford and Petit-Frere as the top returning tackle tandem in college football entering last season, but they have both slipped in that site’s draft rankings. Munford is No. 151 overall and the No. 9 offensive guard prospect per PFF while Petit-Frere is No. 120 overall and 17th among tackles.
Petit-Frere is No. 70 on The Athletic’s consensus board while Munford is No. 129.
5. Two defensive linemen are also in the running to be drafted.
Haskell Garrett and Tyreke Smith most likely will be picked at some point, but they might both have to wait until rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
Both were highly-rated recruits, but neither had the type of production they likely wanted in 2022 when Smith had three sacks and Garrett had 5.5.
PFF has Smith ranked No. 161 overall and 21st among defensive ends while he is No. 130 overall on The Athletic consensus board.
Helping Smith’s cause is the possibility he could play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, a position that could fit him better than playing end at Ohio State.
Garrett is not as versatile, likely fitting in only as a 3-Technique tackle in a 4-3 scheme.
Both players dealt with injuries last season, leaving questions about what they can do — for better or for worse — when at their best.