NFL Draft Analyst Likes Buckeyes' Outlook for the Draft
By Rob Ogden
The 2014 NFL Combine is in the books, and the focus now turns to May's draft.
Six Buckeyes competed in Indianapolis over the weekend, but how many are likely to be selected on draft day?
The two Buckeyes with maybe the most NFL potential were the two with the most disappointing finishes at the combine. Running back Carlos Hyde and linebacker Ryan Shazier both suffered injuries that limited the number of drills in which they were able to partake.
Still, both guys have an outside shot at hearing their name called in the draft's opening round, said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.
"If (Hyde) went in the first round, it wouldn't surprise me at all," Mayock said.
"He can be a three-down back. He's got everything you're looking for. But just because of the position and the way its been devalued, I think he probably goes in the second round. But he can grind it out. He can get you the tough yards, he cuts well, he's got good balance. He really has a good ability to make you miss in the hole."
The depreciation of the running back position is a phenomena that's been occurring in the NFL over the past few years.
Ball carriers have become so devalued that last year's draft marked the first time in the common draft's 47-year history that no running back was taken in the first round.
It's an occurrence that troubles Hyde, who dominated the position last season at Ohio State, rushing for 1,521 yards and 15 touchdowns.
"It does kind of bother me," he told reporters at the combine. "I feel like they are just down on us. They don't think we are capable of doing what we know we can do."
But Mayock isn't down on Hyde. He lists the Naples, Fla. native as his No. 1 overall running back in this year's draft class.
What does Mayock love most about the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Hyde?
"I love his feet," Mayock said. "For a 235-pound guy, he's got great feet.
"He finished the season with nine consecutive 100-yard games. They ran out of the gun and the pistol so you get to see him going sidesaddle and downhill. In pass protection, I think he's got to get a little better, but he's got the size, the ability and the toughness to be a better pass protection guy."
Shazier was impressive in the drills in which he did compete. His 42-inch vertical jump was the best among any player at the combine.
The linebacker's speed is considered one of his strengths. He projects himself in the 4.4 range, but was unable to participate in the 40-yard dash after tweaking his hamstring.
Shazier is expected to run at Ohio State's pro day, March 7.
After Hyde and Shazier, cornerback Bradley Roby and offensive lineman Jack Mewhort will likely be the next two Buckeyes off the board.
Roby, a projected early-round pick, ran a 4.39 40-yard dash Tuesday. Roby's time was good enough for seventh among all players who ran in Indianapolis and fourth among defensive backs.
Prior to the combine, Mayock ranked Roby as the fifth-best corner prospect.
Mewhort, who played left tackle for the Buckeyes, competed as a tackle at the combine, but Mayock said the lineman might have to move to guard, at least at first.
"I think's he's either going to be a starting right tackle or a starting guard," he said. "He played some guard at the Senior Bowl and played it pretty darn well. I think people were surprised at how well he played it."
Mayock noted that the upcoming draft includes a wealth of offensive tackle talent, and projected Mewhort as a second-round pick.
The only other Buckeye Mayock said he expects to be chosen in the draft is center Corey Linsley.
Mayock called Linsley a "late-draftable guy" and compared him to Toledo's Zac Kerin and Tennessee's James Stone.
Linsley impressed in the limited drills in which he participated. He recorded 36 bench press repetitions, which tied for first among all centers, and showed off a 27-inch vertical jump, which was second at his position.