Football

Looking at the Buckeyes With NFL Decisions to Make

Ohio State football defensive end Dre'Mont Jones interception touchdown TCU

The last time Ohio State didn’t lose an underclassman to the NFL Draft was 2015, which was also the last year without a full Urban Meyer OSU recruiting class being draft eligible.

From 2008 to 2015, the Buckeyes lost eight underclassmen to the NFL Draft.

In 2016 — which was the first year an entire Urban Meyer recruiting class was draft eligible — Ohio State sent nine early enrollees to the NFL Draft. Three of them were from the 2012 class and six were from the 2013 class.

This year, there are at least 10 Buckeyes who will be weighing a decision to stay or go. It is unlikely that all 10 will decide to leave early, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be looking.

Underclassmen are allowed to ask for feedback from the NFL, but a rule in 2014 limited the number of players from one school that could receive this feedback to just five. They can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis, however.

Feedback isn’t necessary for somebody like Nick Bosa, so it wouldn’t be asked for.

The answer the NFL provides is whether a player is likely to be a first rounder, a second rounder, or none of the above. The thought is that the “none of the above” answer would be a recommendation to stay in school, but players don’t necessarily see it that way. Previous feedback used to include ‘likely third rounder,’ ‘no potential for the first three rounds,’ and ‘no draft potential at all.’

That feedback has kept players in school on many occasions, but other times the player already has it in his mind that he is ready or that it is necessary for him to leave early.

The particular situation for each of the 10 Buckeyes listed below is unknown on the outside, so predicting one way or the other for many players is a fool’s errand.

But that has never stopped the guessing games before, so..

Here are 10 Buckeyes with decisions to make by the time the declaration deadline gets here on January 14.

Dwayne Haskins, rSo. Quarterback

Expect Haskins to leave. This is a no-brainer. He is listed as a Top 10 pick in some mock drafts and is the kind of quarterback who seems like he would excel in a combine environment. His intention of playing in the Rose Bowl is a positive. Haskins said he’ll make a decision one way or the other after the Rose Bowl.

Mike Weber, rJr. Running Back

Weber almost left last year, saying that he was 50/50. He came back because he was told he would carry the ball more, which he did when he was healthy. He already has 56 more carries in two fewer games than he had last year. The Rose Bowl is expected to be his last game even though he has not yet made an announcement.

K.J. Hill, rJr. Receiver

When he was asked after the Big Ten Championship Game if this was his last season as a Buckeye, Hill was non-committal and said to ask Terry McLaurin. McLaurin said if Hill stayed that he would come back to visit him from time to time. Hill entered the 2018 season as if it would be his last. He showed himself the past three seasons as a very effective slot receiver. His draft feedback may not be great, but it would be a bit of a surprise if he chose to return for a fifth year.

Michael Jordan, Jr. Center

It is pretty rare for an offensive lineman to leave after his true junior season. I expect Jordan to return mainly for that reason. He is a three-year starter and is a first-team All-American. Still, who was the last Ohio State offensive lineman to leave after three seasons? Orlando Pace? Let’s side with normality here and say Jordan returns.

Nick Bosa, Jr. Defensive End

He’s been gone for a while now and is the projected top pick in the draft.

Dre’Mont Jones, rJr. Defensive Tackle

Jones returned last season for a number of reasons, including the idea of improving his draft stock. Not having Nick Bosa next to him may have hindered that, but this will be Jones’ final season as a Buckeye. He was non-committal about playing in the Rose Bowl following the Big Ten Championship Game.

Malik Harrison, Jr. Linebacker

It would be a surprise for Harrison to leave early, but there have been surprises before. He is a big linebacker and an incredible athlete. Those are two combinations that the NFL loves. Expect him to stay for his senior season, but as OSU’s leading tackler, mulling things over is certainly justified.

Kendall Sheffield, rJr. Cornerback

The plan for Ohio State’s cornerbacks over the last five or six years has been to redshirt as true freshmen, then get in the mix as a redshirt freshman, then start for two years and leave early as a redshirt junior. Sheffield will impress at the NFL Combine eventually, and that may be what ultimately convinces him to leave now. The plan has been for this to his final season and then go be a first-round draft pick. That latter part is up in the air, but expect the former to still be the plan.

Damon Arnette, rJr. Cornerback

Everything that was said for Kendall Sheffield goes for Damon Arnette as well.

Jordan Fuller, Jr. Safety

Fuller is a versatile athlete finishing up his second season as a starter for the Buckeyes. He is a two-time Academic All-American, so he is very serious about his craft and his future. As such, he will undoubtedly be looking at the NFL. If you’re a Buckeye fan, you should probably prepare for him to leave early, but be thrilled if he returns.

11 Responses

  1. Not a single freaking person from that secondary is NFL worthy right now. I see them all staying and if they do elect to go I pitty the team that selects them. Our secondary was terrible, who the hell would want them

  2. If I were Haskins I would not want to be drafted as a high pick.
    I would like to be drafted by a good team that has a good offensive line, a good set of wide receivers, and a coach that knows how to put them together.
    Haskins already has a golden Pro arm, he could be paid to learn the details of the pro quarterback game as the 2nd Team QB for two years.
    His Biggest payday would come in his second contract.

  3. good article! My disagreement is that Haskins will stay and should stay put. He has a good head on his shoulders and family to help him with this and will not succumb to the media narrative. After 13 starts, no QB is ready for NFL and he knows it. He comes back, gets more experience, a chance at the national championship, Heisman front runner, a degree, and 1st pick in the draft next year. Let’s see, has there ever been a successful QB come out after RS sophomore year? Hmmm…. Johnny Manziel? Regarding Sheffield and Arnette, no way are those two ready for the League!! Might be 5th/6th rounders right now. Look at the tape!!

    1. Mitch Trubisky started one year at UNC and was drafted #2. He’s doing fine at Chicago.

  4. I think Hill is ready to contribute and would be an asset in the NFL, but with Dixon, McLaurin, and Campbell already leaving just from the same roster at his position, feels like the market is a bit diluted. Even though he is arguably better as a pass catcher than Campbell and Dixon, I really hope he stays and might be better off for him.
    I think Arnette has been a little more consistent than Sheffield, but while the “plan” has been recently for our corners (Ward, Conley, Lattimore) to leave early, these guys are not on a level with those others. Both could use another year. Same with Harrison, who physically is NFL ready, but I think will have opportunity to improve his stock as leader of an improved and deeper defense at OSU.
    Dremont Jones played well and I don’t think did anything to hurt his stock in 2018 at all. I wish him well. Weber’s time is now. Haskins’ time is now. Jordan, while I’m happy for him getting All-American, has a future more likely as a guard than as a center currently. If he wants to be a center, he should come work on it another year. If he wants to be a guard, come on back and do that for another season. Fuller was our best safety this year. Most years in the last decade, that would mean that you are ready for the NFL. But I don’t know.

  5. Here we go again, DBU once again loses another set of very promising DB’s before they even have a chance to mature or gain AA status, they will join a long list of successful DB’s.
    Most likely to Least likely to go;
    Bosa, Haskins, Jones, Weber, Hill, Sheffield, Arnette, Fuller, Harrison and Jordan.
    Percentage of those who leave, 7 or 8 out the ten listed in order.
    Then we’ll talk about Sr’s leaving.
    Now we know why OSU seems to struggle and build steam towards the end. 2nd to only AL in placing starters in the NFL.

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