While the Ohio State football team begins preparations for the 2019 season, many of the Buckeyes’ former teammates are preparing for the next level.
NFL draft preparations have begun in earnest with all-star game season to be followed soon by the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
With the draft is set for April 25-27 in Nashville, here are five things to know about Ohio State’s 2019 hopefuls:
1. Ohio State could have 6-10 players drafted.
Six of Ohio State’s 2018 starters exhausted their eligibility — receivers Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin and offensive linemen Demetrius Knox, Malcolm Pridgeon and Isaiah Prince — while six more opted to enter the draft early — quarterback Dwayne Haskins, running back Mike Weber, cornerback Kendall Sheffield, offensive lineman Michael Jordan and defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones.
Not all of them will be drafted, but given their college experience, they are sure to get some looks from NFL personnel people.
2. Three or four could go in the first round.
Bosa entered last year as the expected No. 1 overall pick, and he maintains that status despite missing most of the season because of a core muscle injury.
Jones and Haskins have joined him as potential first round picks thanks to strong 2018s, and the same might be true of Campbell.
3. What about the next tier?
While Bosa, Haskins and Jones are the consensus best three prospects coming out of Columbus this season, Campbell, Jordan and Prince all appear on at least one top 100 prospects list.
Campbell ranks No. 44 at 247 and 91st at CBS Sports.
These, of course, are the opinions of people who don’t actually work for NFL teams and won’t be making any decisions on draft day, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.
4. The 40-yard dash at the combine could be fun.
As the Michigan secondary (among others) can attest, Ohio State had speed to burn last season.
Campbell removed all doubt about that when he blazed down the sideline for a back-breaking 78-yard touchdown against the Wolverines in November.
He could light up stopwatches in Indianapolis, where Dixon and Sheffield also could differentiate themselves from other prospects if they post strong times (as expected).
McLaurin isn’t considered a burner, but scouts will likely want to see what kind of time he posts after he opened eyes with his play in practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., this week.
5. Some trends are sure to continue while others probably won’t.
Start with those first-round prospects. Ohio State has had at least two first-round picks in each of the past three years. That seems like a lock to continue.
At least one Buckeye offensive lineman also figures to be drafted for the fourth year in a row, while Ohio State is likely to have a defensive back drafted for the sixth year in a row.
However, the streak of three years in a row with at least one first-round DB appears to be in jeopardy.
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Meanwhile, Campbell could become the first Ohio State receiver taken in the first round in more than a decade.
The last one, Anthony Gonzalez, was elected to Congress in November. He was the No. 32 pick in 2007, going to the Colts 23 picks after the Dolphins selected Ted Ginn Jr.
The first-round receiver drought is nothing compared to the one for Ohio State quarterbacks, though.
The last Buckeye quarterback drafted in the first round was Art Schlichter, who went to the Colts with the No. 4 pick in 1982.