A Look at Which NFL Scouting Combine Drills Are Most Important for Each Ohio State Draft Prospect

By Jake Anderson on February 23, 2020 at 9:05 am
Damon Arnette

With 11 former Buckeyes selected to participate in the NFL Combine, it marks the third straight year that 10+ players from Ohio State have been invited to the pre-draft event. Only Alabama can match this streak. 

On-field testing at the NFL Scouting Combine begins on Thursday, when K.J. Hill, Austin Mack, Ben Victor and the rest of the wide receivers will take the field along with quarterbacks and tight ends. On Friday, J.K. Dobbins and the running backs and Jonah Jackson and the offensive linemen will go through their drills. DaVon Hamilton and Malik Harrison and the defensive front seven will work out on Saturday. while Damon Arnette, Jeff Okudah, Jordan Fuller and the rest of the defensive backs will finish out the combine next Sunday. 

Chase Young will not perform in on-field workouts at the NFL Combine. The Heisman finalist will likely be the first non-quarterback selected in the Draft. 

Ahead of their workouts this week, we take a look at each prospect's outlook for the NFL draft and the most important drill each of them will go through in Indianapolis.

Damon Arnette (CB): 40-Yard Dash

Coming back to school for his final year of eligibility has paid off for Damon Arnette. With much-improved technique combined with his aggressive playing style, Arnette has developed himself into one of the best cornerbacks in the 2020 NFL draft class. With a strong senior year of film, a good performance in the 40-yard dash could be what he needs to propel his draft stock into the first round.

In his lone season coached by Jeff Hafley, Arnette was able to play himself into a position to make a lot of money in April, and he could make even more this week in Indianapolis.

J.K. Dobbins (RB): Three-Cone Drill

A three-year starter and Ohio State's only single-season 2,000-yard rusher, J.K. Dobbins will be fun to watch at the next level. His strength and decision making are some of his best attributes, but the three-cone drill will give Dobbins a great opportunity to show his agility and oily hips. His elusiveness and flexibility helped him rise up draft boards all season long.

Dobbins is mostly projected to be a second-round pick, but a number of mock drafts have him going late in the first. Whichever team he ends up on will get a three-down back who could potentially start on day one.

Jordan Fuller (S): Bench Press

Another three-year starter for the Buckeyes, Jordan Fuller was the safety net for Ohio State's defense. Tackling was one of his biggest strengths at Ohio State, and a strong showing in the bench press could help show teams that he is ready to fill the gap against NFL ballcarriers such as Derrick Henry. 

Although Fuller is not one of the most athletically gifted defensive backs in this draft class, there is little doubt that he is one of the smartest. That, combined with his sure tackling, make him a draftable prospect who could hang around the league.

DaVon Hamilton (DT): Bench Press

It may be stereotypical, but a defensive lineman should be the strongest player on the field. DaVon Hamilton showed his potential as a run-stopper this past season, and he could continue to showcase his endurance and strength with a strong showing in the bench press.

Hamilton will likely be drafted in the later rounds, but his ability to play both tackle spots and quick hands should help him stay on an NFL roster for years to come. 

Malik Harrison (LB): 20-Yard Shuttle

In modern football, linebackers need to be able to run with slot receivers and track down tailbacks in the open field. Malik Harrison showed he could do that at Ohio State, and a good time in the pro shuttle run – which consists of a five-yard sprint, a 10-yard sprint and another five-yard sprint – would showcase his acceleration and ability to change direction. 

Harrison is projected as a second-day draft pick and is right on the fringe of being a second-rounder. With more NFL offenses spreading defenses out, Harrison's play style will continue to be in high demand. 

K.J. Hill (WR): Three-Cone Drill

K.J. Hill is not a speedster like some of his counterparts in this year's draft class, but his ability to create separation and snag nearly everything in his catch radius more than makes up for his lack of elite speed. His footwork is second to none and will be on full display in the three-cone drill, where his quick feet and ability change direction should enable him to put up a top time.

Hill should be selected on the second or third day of the draft, and his route-running ability could lead to early snaps in his NFL career.

Austin Mack (WR): Pass-Catching Drills

Austin Mack flashed big-play ability in his Ohio State career, but he was also inconsistent. His fantastic catch against Clemson this past year was unforgettable, but so was his case of the drops against TCU in 2018. To improve his draft stock, consistency in the pass-catching drills will be crucial.

As for the measurables, a solid vertical jump performance is what he needs most as a red zone target and outside receiver project. 

Mack won't be drafted before day three, but he was a willing participant on special teams while with the Buckeyes and is a great presence in the locker room, which could help him stick on an NFL roster.

Jonah Jackson (OG): 20-Yard Shuttle

Rutgers transfer Jonah Jackson was arguably the best offensive lineman on one of the best offensive lines in the nation a year ago, acting as a one-man wrecking crew between Josh Myers and Thayer Munford. Jackson's strength was on display all season long, but his key to boosting his draft stock will be to show teams his athleticism.

For him, that's going to start with the shuttle run. His time does not have to be outstanding as an offensive lineman, but it's still a test that could indicate how well he can move in the trenches.

Jackson has been in contention to be the best offensive guard in the draft since his performance at the Senior Bowl, and he'll likely be selected in the early to middle rounds. 

Jeff Okudah (CB): 40-Yard Dash

The All-American cornerback will likely be a top-10 pick regardless of his performance in Indianapolis, but he can solidify that with a fast 40-yard dash. The dash is the most critiqued aspect of the combine, and a good showing should lock in Jeff Okudah as the best defensive back in the draft. 

Already lauded for his size and length, Okudah is expected to be the first cornerback off the draft board and could be selected as high as No. 3 overall

Ben Victor (WR): Vertical Jump

Ben Victor has the potential to shoot up draft boards despite this year's stacked draft class. The 6-foot-4 receiver is not as polished as a number of other pass-catchers this year, but he's an impressive physical specimen whose athleticism could stand out in Indianapolis. His 40-yard dash should be fine, but his vertical jump should be his best event; Victor's ability to high-point passes is his best trait. 

Victor will need a good day in the catching drills and decent numbers across the board to bolster his draft stock at the combine. He's most likely a Day 3 pick and a player who could be drafted for his upside despite limited production for the Buckeyes.

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