The NFL Draft is just a few days away and normally in the weeks and months leading up to it, NFL coaches, GMs, and other front office personnel are watching players take part in pro days, or personal workouts, or interviewing them in person.
However, most pro days didn’t happen this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The in-person interviews were a wash as well.
No poking, no prodding. No picking apart the film based on a pro day workout. And no real opportunity to get to know the players as well as each team would like.
The NFL Combine took place, and some conversations happened there, but now more than ever, the NFL is relying on college coaches for feedback on their players.
Or at least that’s been the experience for Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and strength coach Mickey Marotti.
“Yeah, I would say it’s been a higher rate of calls. I think for Coach Mick, myself, and the assistant coaches, some different requests, just questions about who they are. Whether it’s position coaches, head coaches, GMs, personnel,” Day said.
“Just fielding a lot more questions about the guys since they don’t have pro days and they’re not able to spend as much time with them in person. I think that’s probably the biggest thing, just fielding a lot of questions. It seems like a lot of the people in the NFL are just using the college coaches, strength coaches, and different people in the program to gather information.”
For the Buckeyes, there are a number of prospects to ask about.
Defensive end Chase Young and cornerback Jeff Okudah are projected by most to go second and third overall, which would be the first time the Buckeyes had two of the first three picks since 1997 when left tackle Orlando Pace went No. 1 overall and cornerback Shawn Springs went No. 3.
Running back JK Dobbins and cornerback Damon Arnette have also been mentioned as being on the cusp of the first round. Linebacker Malik Harrison, defensive tackles DaVon Hamilton and Robert Landers, safety Jordan Fuller, receiver KJ Hill, and offensive linemen Jonah Jackson and Branden Bowen have all been the topics of conversations for Day and his staff as well.
Day has also been asked about another former Buckeye — LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
Not many teams have had a reason to ask about Burrow because he’s not expected to slide past the Cincinnati Bengals at the top spot, but more than one team has inquired about Burrow when talking to Day.
“I don’t know exactly the number, but certainly when people ask about our guys they bring up Joe,” Day said. “I don’t think everybody in the league is asking questions about him, but there’s obviously a certain few, and obviously all the feedbacks are very, very positive. You know, just asking about who he is as a person and all those things. And obviously it’s nothing but the highest praise for him and his work ethic and his ability to play, and so I think he’s gonna have a really good draft.”
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