Ohio State's 14 Draft Hopefuls Await Life-Changing Phone Calls As 2019 NFL Draft Begins Thursday

By Dan Hope on April 25, 2019 at 8:35 am
Nick Bosa

Nick Bosa is in Nashville to hear his name announced in person.

Dwayne Haskins will be watching with family and friends at a bowling alley in his home state of Maryland, while Terry McLaurin will be doing the same at his family’s home in Indianapolis.

Demetrius Knox will be on a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, trying to keep his mind off it all until the moment comes.

Each of Ohio State’s 14 prospects for the 2019 NFL draft will experience the next three days in their own different ways. All of them, though, will be hoping and waiting for phone calls that could make their dreams come true.

Bosa is expected to be the first Buckeye, and one of the first players from any school, to hear his name called. Most mock drafts project that the San Francisco 49ers will select him with the No. 2 overall pick, with the Arizona Cardinals expected to draft Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick. At worst, Bosa is expected to be the No. 3 overall pick – the pick with which his older brother Joey was drafted three years ago.

Nick Bosa has said that his goal is to be the first non-quarterback selected in this year’s draft – also like his brother, Joey – and that goal could be achieved on Thursday night. Mostly, though, Bosa is just ready to find out where he’ll be playing so that he can get back on the football field and begin his professional career.

“I’m definitely ready for this part of it to be over,” Bosa said in an interview with CBS Sports Network’s Evan Washburn after arriving in Tennessee on Wednesday. “Tomorrow will be an amazing day, but I’m definitely ready to get to work.”

Bosa recognizes that he is fortunate to be in the position he’s in, so he isn’t overly concerned about which team ultimately drafts him.

“I’m unbelievably blessed to be in this position,” Bosa told Washburn. “A lot of people would give anything to be in this position. So whoever calls my name, I’ll be really excited.”

While Bosa’s stock as one of the draft’s top picks appears to be rock-solid – even in a week where there has been plenty of conversation about his past use of social media – the real intrigue of Thursday night could come with Haskins.

In the weeks leading up to the NFL draft, Haskins has been in close contact with five teams: the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 overall pick in the first round), the New York Giants (Nos. 6 and 17), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and Washington Redskins (No. 15). The Cincinnati Bengals could also be a candidate to draft Haskins with the No. 11 overall pick, though Haskins said he has not had much contact with them since the NFL Scouting Combine in March.

Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins is set to be the first Ohio State quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL draft since Art Schlichter in 1982.

Where exactly Haskins will end up on Thursday night, however, remains a mystery. The Redskins are rumored to be highly interested in Haskins, but they might have to trade up to get him. None of the other teams are considered sure bets to draft Haskins even if he is available, but all of them have shown interest in the former Ohio State quarterback, either hosting him at their team facilities or traveling to Columbus to put him through a private workout.

It’s possible Haskins could be drafted within the first hour of Thursday first round, which begins at 8 p.m., but it’s also possible he could have to wait a little longer.

Like Bosa, Haskins is ready for the speculation to be over and to get to work with his new team, but he’s excited to share Thursday night with his loved ones as his dream of playing in the NFL becomes a reality.

“It probably won’t hit me until I get that phone call,” Haskins told Eleven Warriors in an interview earlier this month. “And then after the phone call, I’ll probably realize that just happened. But as far as it’s approaching pretty fast, I’m ready for it to get over with and I’m looking forward to it.”

Bosa and Haskins are the only Buckeyes who are locks to be selected on Thursday night, but a few other Ohio State prospects will need to make sure their phones are fully charged, as well. Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and wide receivers Parris Campbell and McLaurin are also potential candidates to be selected late in the first round.

Those three also face the possibility of having to wait until Friday night – when the second and third rounds will be held – to receive the call that they are being drafted. They’d certainly prefer to receive those calls on Thursday night. Even if they have to wait another day, though, they can all sleep with confidence that their NFL opportunities are coming soon.

“All the projections and the speculation, all those can get put to rest this weekend, and that’s the best part,” McLaurin, who said he has been in contact with all 32 NFL teams over the course of the draft process, told Eleven Warriors this week. “Because when you’re focused on just the training aspect of it, you try not to get too wrapped up in it all, but this last month is a little tough because things slow down a little bit and you’re taking visits and having little workouts here and there. But now it’s nice to see that I finally get to know where I’m going, and I can start getting to work.”

Other Buckeyes who appear to be safe bets to at least be drafted are interior offensive lineman Michael Jordan, cornerback Kendall Sheffield and running back Mike Weber. For them, the anxious moments are likely to begin on Friday, but they face a potential wait until Saturday – as each of them have been projected to be selected as early as the third round, though many mock drafts have them coming off the board between the fourth and sixth rounds.

Ohio State's 2019 NFL Draft Prospects
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The rest of Ohio State’s draft hopefuls aren’t likely to be selected before Saturday, but they will be in a different kind of limbo: waiting to find out whether they get drafted at all. Offensive tackle Isaiah Prince and wide receiver Johnnie Dixon are the most likely Buckeyes to round out Ohio State’s draft class, though Knox and fellow offensive lineman Malcolm Pridgeon have also generated some interest as possible late-round picks and linebacker Dante Booker and kicker Sean Nuernberger have also had opportunities to work out for NFL teams.

Either way, it will be a busy Saturday for all of them, as even those who don’t get drafted should quickly receive offers to sign as undrafted free agents – or at least attend rookie minicamps on a tryout basis – in the draft’s immediate aftermath. And while Knox’s draft stock might be in a very different position than Bosa’s, he feels similarly fortunate to be in the position he’s in.

“I’d say it’s one big blessing,” said Knox, who made a pre-draft visit to the Seattle Seahawks and attended local pro days for the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys. “A lot of people would love to be in the situation that I’m in right now, and it’s cool to just sit back knowing that a childhood dream’s about to come true.”

Knox won’t be watching the draft as closely as some of his more highly projected teammates, however, as he doesn’t want to fixate on whatever wait he might have to endure.

“Just sitting by the beach relaxing, I figure I’d rather be out there than just sitting at the house, watching TV, waiting for my phone to ring,” Knox said.

All seven rounds of the NFL draft will be televised on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. Eleven Warriors will be following along throughout, so stay tuned for full coverage as each of Ohio State’s draft prospects find out where they will be starting their NFL careers.

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