Ohio State's Loaded Roster Includes Several More Potential First-Round NFL Draft Picks for 2019 and Beyond

By Andrew Ellis on April 29, 2018 at 8:30 am
Chase Young is on track to be a top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Seven Buckeyes were just selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The draft has been kind to the Buckeyes of late, and Ohio State has been equally generous to the National Football League. Urban Meyer's roster annually features more talent than 99 percent of college football programs, and the coaching staff has consistently cultivated that talent into NFL-caliber prospects.

As Ohio State's recruiting efforts continue to roll, the talent continues to stockpile in Columbus. Next year's NFL Draft will once again feature some first-round Buckeyes, and the 2020 version is shaping up quite nicely as well. 

A lot is going to change in the coming months and years, and you never know when a player like Malik Hooker may burst onto the scene. Still, there are a number of players who are already looking like future first-round draft picks. 

We offer a glimpse at those who appear most most likely to go in the first round; whenever that time may come.

The Top-Five Guys

Ohio State has now had three players selected in the top five dating back to 2016. Joey Bosa and Ezekiel Elliott went No. 3 and No. 4 respectively in 2016. This year Denzel Ward had his name called fourth overall by the Cleveland Browns. 

This fall is going to be a lot of fun because we're sure to hear chatter from the north about how Rashan Gary is bound to be the top defensive end selected in the 2019 Draft; ahead of one Nick Bosa. That is, of course, assuming both players elect to forego their senior seasons.

Gary's testing numbers – according to Michigan – have been pretty insane, so he likely will put up a solid performance at the combine. Bosa's style of play is nearly identical to that of his older brother, and he's been doing quite well in the NFL.

The elder Bosa has recorded 23 sacks thus far in 27 starts and is generally considered one of the league's top players at the position.

A sound technician who is being coached by the best there is, Nick Bosa is unquestionably the top name to watch when it comes to potential top-five picks. Right now it appears that some folks even have him pegged to go No. 1 overall.

When considering top-five selections, one's mind instantly should turn to quarterbacks, offensive tackles, and defensive ends. For that reason, the other name on our list is none other than Chase Young. The former five-star will be a sophomore this coming season, but at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, he already looks the part of a freak defensive end that the NFL covets.

The departures of Sam Hubbard, Jalyn Holmes, and Tyquan Lewis will allow Young to fully put his talents on display in 2018. He was unblockable in Ohio State's spring game.

The Other First-Rounders

Dre'Mont Jones elected to return for his redshirt junior season, and it sounded like the decision was a tough one for the versatile lineman. The best guess right now is that Jones will be gone after 2018, and he's certainly got a chance to be a first-rounder in next year's NFL Draft. He's likely a 4-3 defensive tackle or a 3-4 end. 

Jordan Fuller quietly had a really good season in 2017, and he too will be eligible for the draft after 2018. Obviously a lot of this will depend on how the coming season transpires, but the NFL is certainly enamored with Ohio State defensive backs; and for good reason. Fuller has ideal safety size and is another player who could go in the first round, whether it be in 2019 or 2020.

Michael Jordan has started since day one at Ohio State – becoming the first true freshman offensive line starter since Orlando Pace in 1994 – and the junior is another player who could be faced with a decision following the 2018 season. Jordan has always been a high academic kid, so who knows what his thoughts will be if the opportunity presents itself. At 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds, he's got tackle size but has clearly settled in at left guard.

Sticking with the trenches, the development of Thayer Munford has been nothing short of outstanding. He was a raw prospect in high school and wasn't a guy the Buckeyes targeted early on. The fact that he's on track to start at left tackle as a true sophomore says a lot about his work ethic and certainly his ability to play the position. He's definitely another one to watch for; especially considering how much the league covets left tackles.

J.K. Dobbins took Columbus by storm last season, and he's a do-it-all tailback who can likely stay on the field for all three downs. Dobbins will split time with Mike Weber in 2018, but the sophomore is the more explosive of the two and looks to have the higher ceiling. Even with running backs being devalued a bit, he's got a chance to go early when the time comes.

Jeffrey Okudah was one the highest-rated signees in the Class of 2017, and he's going to see the field a whole lot more as a sophomore. Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette won't make things easy, but most believe Okudah is the next star at cornerback. He won't be draft eligible until 2020.

The Next In Line

The roster includes several other players who haven't yet had the opportunity to shine, but certainly are worth watching in the coming months and years.

Dwayne Haskins is a redshirt sophomore and is locked into a quarterback battle with Joe Burrow. His arm strength is evident to anyone who's watched him sling it, and he may be a dark horse to test the NFL waters if he becomes a household name across the country in 2018. Either way, scouts will likely be enamored with that arm strength. 

The NFL also loves athletic specimens at linebacker, and sophomore Baron Browning certainly fits that mold. The position battle is still waging on in Columbus, but whenever the Texan does end up seeing the field regularly, he's going to be another one to watch closely. It seems like Ohio State is experimenting with him at a number of spots; including the vacancy left form the Tuf Borland injury. 

It's probably premature to mention guys who haven't even arrived on campus yet, but if you're looking at the 2018 class, Nicholas Petit-Frere and Jeremy Ruckert may be the two names that I'd circle.

Offensive tackle is always a premium position, and while the same can't really be said for tight end, Ruckert may bring something to the table that we haven't seen yet in Columbus.

View 32 Comments