While Ohio State’s current football team is scheduled to play this year's spring game in just two days, several Buckeyes from last year’s team could hear their names called in the 2018 NFL draft in just two weeks.
As the calendar closes in on April 26, which is when the first round of the draft will take place at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, more and more projections are being made each day of where the draft’s top prospects could end up.
|2.||NEW YORK GIANTS|
|3.||NEW YORK JETS (FROM INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)|
|4.||CLEVELAND BROWNS (FROM HOUSTON TEXANS)|
|6.||INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (FROM NEW YORK JETS)|
|7.||TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS|
|9.||SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS|
|12.||BUFFALO BILLS (FROM CINCINNATI BENGALS)|
|14.||GREEN BAY PACKERS|
|17.||LOS ANGELES CHARGERS|
|21.||CINCINNATI BENGALS (FROM BUFFALO BILLS)|
|22.||BUFFALO BILLS (FROM KANSAS CITY CHIEFS)|
|23.||NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (FROM LOS ANGELES RAMS)|
|27.||NEW ORLEANS SAINTS|
|31.||NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS|
We’ve rounded up some of those projections for an updated look at when Ohio State’s top prospects are expected to come off the board.
The following 18 projections, which vary in length from one round to five rounds and all of which have been published or updated in the last nine days to reflect the New England Patriots’ trade for the No. 23 overall pick, have been included in this two-weeks-to-go edition of our Buckeye-centric NFL mock draft roundup:
- CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso (1 round)
- CBS Sports’ R.J. White (3 rounds)
- CBS Sports’ Will Brinson (1 round)
- Draft Analyst’s Tony Pauline (2 rounds)
- Draft Countdown’s Scott Wright (2 rounds)
- Draft Wire’s Luke Easterling (4 rounds)
- Newsday’s Nick Klopsis (1 round)
- NDT Scouting’s Joe Marino (1 round)
- NFL.com’s Chad Reuter (5 rounds)
- NFL.com’s Charley Casserly (1 round)
- NFL.com’s Maurice Jones-Drew (1 round)
- NFLDraftScout.com’s Dane Brugler (3 rounds)
- NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang (3 rounds)
- NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy (2 rounds)
- Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser (1 round)
- SB Nation’s Dan Kadar (1 round)
- Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer (1 round)
- U-T San Diego’s Eddie Brown (3 rounds)
Denzel Ward, CB
Trapasso: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Cleveland Browns
Iyer: Round 1, No. 7 overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brown: Round 1, No. 8 overall, Chicago Bears
Casserly: Round 1, No. 8 overall, Chicago Bears
Brugler: Round 1, No. 9 overall, San Francisco 49ers
Dunleavy: Round 1, No. 9 overall, San Francisco 49ers
Kadar: Round 1, No. 10 overall, Oakland Raiders
Klopsis: Round 1, No. 10 overall, Oakland Raiders
Pauline: Round 1, No. 10 overall, Oakland Raiders
Rang: Round 1, No. 10 overall, Oakland Raiders
White: Round 1, No. 10 overall, Oakland Raiders
Brinson: Round 1, No. 11 overall, Miami Dolphins
Jones-Drew: Round 1, No. 11 overall, Green Bay Packers
Easterling: Round 1, No. 13 overall, Washington Redskins
Marino: Round 1, No. 13 overall, Washington Redskins
Wright: Round 1, No. 13 overall, Washington Redskins
Reuter: Round 1, No. 14 overall, Green Bay Packers
Lieser: Round 1, No. 15 overall, Arizona Cardinals
Coming off of a dominant final season at Ohio State and his spectacular display of speed and leaping ability at the NFL Scouting Combine, Denzel Ward is unanimously projected to be a top-15 pick in this year’s NFL draft.
While mock drafts differ on whether Ward, Florida State safety Derwin James or Alabama hybrid Minkah Fitzpatrick will be the first overall defensive back off the board, there is now a clear consensus among draft analysts that Ward is the top pure cornerback in this year’s draft class, and as such, he should hear his name called two Thursdays from now before the first half of the first round is over.
The Oakland Raiders are the most popular projected landing spot for Ward, but it’s uncertain whether he will even still be on the board by the 10th overall pick. Ward has visited three of the teams picking in front of them – the Browns, Bears and 49ers – in the weeks leading up to the draft.
Billy Price, C/G
Pauline: Round 1, No. 21 overall, Cincinnati Bengals
Casserly: Round 1, No. 25 overall, Tennessee Titans
Marino: Round 1, No. 30 overall, Minnesota Vikings
Easterling: Round 2, No. 34 overall, New York Giants
White: Round 2, No. 37 overall, Indianapolis Colts
Brugler: Round 2, No. 40 overall, Denver Broncos
Dunleavy: Round 2, No. 41 overall, Washington Redskins
Brown: Round 2, No. 44 overall, Washington Redskins
Rang: Round 2, No. 46 overall, Cincinnati Bengals
Wright: Round 2, No. 46 overall, Cincinnati Bengals
Reuter: Round 2, No. 51 overall, Detroit Lions
Billy Price is being projected as a first-round pick far less regularly now than he was before the NFL Scouting Combine, where he suffered a pectoral injury while participating in the bench press that required surgery and prevented him from completing a full pre-draft workout. Only three of the 18 mock drafts we surveyed this time around project that Price will be a first-round pick.
The consensus still remains, though, that Price will be drafted no later than the middle of the second round, as all nine mock drafts in this roundup that include at least two rounds project that Price will be either a first- or second-round pick.
The most popular projected landing spot in this roundup has Price, a Northeast Ohio native, continuing his travels down I-71 to the Cincinnati Bengals, who are in the market for a new center after letting Russell Bodine walk in free agency. He is also projected by multiple mock drafts to land with the Washington Redskins, who are set to host Price for a visit next week according to a report from ESPN’s John Keim.
Sam Hubbard, DE
Iyer: Round 1, No. 25 overall, Tennessee Titans
Lieser: Round 1, No. 25 overall, Tennessee Titans
Wright: Round 1, No. 25 overall, Tennessee Titans
Jones-Drew: Round 1, No. 27 overall, New Orleans Saints
Brown: Round 2, No. 36 overall, Indianapolis Colts
Rang: Round 2, No. 37 overall, Indianapolis Colts
Dunleavy: Round 2, No. 45 overall, Green Bay Packers
White: Round 2, No. 53 overall, Buffalo Bills
Easterling: Round 2, No. 55 overall, Carolina Panthers
Pauline: Round 2, No. 55 overall, Carolina Panthers
Brugler: Round 2, No. 57 overall, Tennessee Titans
Reuter: Round 3, No. 65 overall, San Francisco 49ers
Like Price, Sam Hubbard is projected as a first-round pick in only a small percentage of mock drafts, but is a consensus choice to be selected in the draft’s first two rounds. With the exception of Chad Reuter, who has Hubbard coming off the board with the first pick of the third round, every other mock draft we surveyed that includes at least two rounds projects Hubbard to be a top-64 pick.
Among those who believe Hubbard could end up being a late first-round pick, the popular projection is for Hubbard to land with the Tennessee Titans, whom he is visiting this week according to a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jordan Schultz. Hubbard was recruited by new Titans coach Mike Vrabel when Vrabel was Ohio State’s defensive line coach before leaving Columbus to begin his NFL coaching career.
Projected potential second-round destinations for Hubbard include the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers, who both drafted Buckeyes in the first two rounds of the draft last year – Malik Hooker and Curtis Samuel, respectively – and are in need of upgrades at the defensive end position this year.
Jamarco Jones, OT
White: Round 2, No. 35 overall, Cleveland Browns
Easterling: Round 3, No. 75 overall, Oakland Raiders
Brugler: Round 3, No. 88 overall, Carolina Panthers
Rang: Round 3, No. 97 overall, Arizona Cardinals
Reuter: Round 4, No. 103 overall, Houston Texans
While R.J. White has what would be considered an optimistic projection for Jamarco Jones at this point, slotting him in as an early second-round pick by the Cleveland Browns, the consensus among the mock drafts we surveyed that included three rounds or more is that Jones is more likely to come off the board in the third or fourth round.
Although Jones provided two years of solid play at left tackle for Ohio State, he posted underwhelming measurables at the NFL Scouting Combine, which could have teams questioning whether he can continue to play left tackle at the next level.
As such, Jones isn’t likely to be one of the first offensive tackles off the board in this year’s draft, but could be an option for teams who miss out on the top tackle prospects and are still looking to land a potential starter in the middle rounds.
Jerome Baker, LB
Brown: Round 2, No. 57 overall, Tennessee Titans
White: Round 2, No. 61 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars
Easterling: Round 3, No. 67 overall, Indianapolis Colts
Rang: Round 3, No. 67 overall, Indianapolis Colts
Reuter: Round 4, No. 121 overall, Buffalo Bills
The consensus projection for Jerome Baker in this mock draft roundup has the Ohio State linebacker coming off the board in the late second round or the early third round, as four of the six surveyed mock drafts that included at least three rounds project Baker to either be among the last eight picks of Round 2 or the first three picks of Round 3.
All but one of the projections in this roundup have Baker landing in the AFC South, with multiple mock drafts slotting to the Indianapolis Colts early in the third round.
While Baker is one of the most athletic linebackers in the 2018 draft class and entered his junior season as a potential first-round draft pick, the early draft entrant’s stock fell due to a disappointing season in which he struggled more than expected, particularly in coverage.
Tyquan Lewis, DE
Reuter: Round 2, No. 58 overall, Atlanta Falcons
Tyquan Lewis’ draft stock remains difficult to pin down with just two weeks remaining until the draft begins. While Chad Reuter projects that Lewis will be a late second-round pick, he was not included in any of the other mock drafts in this roundup – including four three-round mocks and one four-round mock – suggesting that he could have a longer wait on draft day.
As for Reuter’s projection, the Falcons should be in the market for another defensive end following the departure of Adrian Clayborn in free agency, leaving the door open for an early-round draft pick – which Lewis could be – to come in and contribute immediately on the edge of their defense.
Jalyn Holmes, DE
Brown: Round 3, No. 86 overall, Kansas City Chiefs
Reuter: Round 3, No. 91 overall, Chicago Bears
While Jalyn Holmes was only included in two of the mock drafts we surveyed, projections for his draft stock have been fairly consistent over the past few months, with most longer mock drafts slotting him as either a late third-round pick or early fourth-round pick.
Although Holmes wasn’t quite as productive as Hubbard and Lewis during his Ohio State career, he has the versatility to play both defensive end and defensive tackle, making him an intriguing and scheme-versatile prospect who could be a more productive player in the NFL than he was in college.
Potential Late-Round Picks
In addition to the seven Buckeyes who were accounted for in this mock draft roundup, there are several other Ohio State products who could be selected in the late rounds of the draft, particularly in the draft’s final two rounds, which none of the above mock drafts completed projections for.
Safety Damon Webb and linebacker Chris Worley are perhaps the most likely Buckeyes to be drafted who were not accounted for in this roundup, while tight end Marcus Baugh and quarterback J.T. Barrett should also garner consideration in the late rounds.
Defensive tackles Tracy Sprinkle and Michael Hill and special teamers Elijaah Goins and Zach Turnure are also among the players who could warrant late-round looks, though they appear to face longer odds.