NFL Scouting Combine Offers Opportunity for Ohio State’s Less Heralded Prospects to Boost Draft Stock

By Dan Hope on February 27, 2024 at 10:10 am
Mike Hall chasing Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne in 2022

Marvin Harrison Jr. would have had little to gain by working out at the NFL Scouting Combine, but the same is not true for the rest of Ohio State’s combine invitees.

Harrison’s workout would have drawn the biggest spotlight among Ohio State’s prospects – and among just about every prospect in Indianapolis – as there would have been significant interest in how fast the two-time All-American wide receiver would have run his 40-yard dash and how high and long he would have jumped. His decision to forgo working out at the combine is a logical one, though, because his draft stock can’t get much higher than it already is; he is already a near-unanimous pick to be the first non-quarterback drafted this year.

Ohio State’s other prospects in this year’s draft class haven’t garnered as much attention entering the combine as none of them are currently projected to be first-round picks. But any of the other seven members of last year’s Ohio State football team at this week’s combine could boost their draft stock with a strong showing in Indianapolis.

The top prospect to watch among them might be defensive tackle Mike Hall, who is widely projected to be the second Buckeye drafted as either a second- or third-round pick. Hall is already off to a strong start in the pre-draft process, earning practice player of the week honors among his team’s defensive linemen at the Senior Bowl, and the combine setting will allow him to show just how athletic he is.

With the quickness and explosiveness Hall has shown on the field, there’s reason to believe he should shine in athletic testing. Hall’s Ohio State teammates gave him the nickname “Baby Aaron Donald” as a nod to how athletic he is; his draft stock will certainly rise if he can put up similar numbers as Donald did at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, where the future three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash en route to becoming the No. 13 overall pick in the draft.

The Buckeye who may have the most riding on his combine performance is Tommy Eichenberg, as his performance in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle and other athletic tests will serve as a measuring stick of whether he is athletic enough to be an every-down linebacker in the NFL. Most mock drafts currently project Eichenberg to be a third- or fourth-round pick; how well he performs in pre-draft testing could determine whether he ends up being a Day 2 or Day 3 selection.

Eichenberg is coming off of an arm injury that sidelined him for three of Ohio State’s final four games last season and kept him from participating in the Senior Bowl, so it’s uncertain whether he will be a full participant in combine workouts or if he will wait until Ohio State’s March 20 pro day to do some or all of his testing. Either way, he needs to put up good numbers to maximize his chances of being an early-round draftee.

Tommy Eichenberg
Tommy Eichenberg’s performance in pre-draft workouts could determine whether he is a Day 2 pick or a Day 3 pick.

That’s also true for Cade Stover, who is likewise widely projected to be either a third- or fourth-round draft pick. Stover is currently projected to be the third tight end drafted, according to NFL Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board, but that standing could fluctuate if other tight ends outperform him in combine drills.

Like Eichenberg, Stover is coming off of an injury he battled during the second half of the 2023 season – in his case a knee injury – so he could also have reason to hold off on working out until the March 20 pro day. Either way, Stover’s 40 time and performance in other measurable drills will be factored into his evaluation as scouts project how well his receiving production at Ohio State – 77 catches for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns over the past two seasons – will translate to the NFL.

Another Buckeye who projects as a potential combine riser is Josh Proctor, who demonstrated plenty of athleticism across his six-year career as an Ohio State safety. 

The most important part of his combine might be the medical exams, as team doctors will have reason to scrutinize his results since he battled numerous injuries in his OSU career, including a compound fracture in his leg in 2021. Assuming he clears the medical testing with a clean bill of health, though, Proctor – a projected Day 3 draft pick – could improve his chances of going in the middle rounds by running fast, jumping high and shining in position drills.

Josh Proctor
Josh Proctor could increase his chances of being a middle-round draft pick by showcasing his athleticism at the combine.

Steele Chambers will be another interesting Buckeye to watch in Indianapolis, as he’ll look to demonstrate the same athleticism that allowed him to successfully make a mid-career switch from running back to linebacker at Ohio State. While Eichenberg was the more productive linebacker at Ohio State, Chambers is likely to run faster in the combine setting, and a good workout could be exactly what he needs to get himself drafted in the late rounds.

Matt Jones’ 40-yard dash time isn’t very important as an offensive lineman, but he could bolster his draft stock by showing quick feet in offensive line drills and putting up a big number on the bench press. Jones isn’t widely projected to be drafted after a disappointing 2023 season for Ohio State’s entire offensive line, so he needs to impress scouts any way he can this week.

A strong combine showing would also go a long way for Miyan Williams after he ran for only 158 yards and three touchdowns on 49 carries before his final season as a Buckeye was cut short by a knee injury. It’s uncertain whether Williams will be ready to work out at the combine due to that injury, but it would be helpful if he is able to show what he can do after not getting to show it much in 2023. As with Proctor, the medical testing might be the most important part of the week for Williams, as any lingering concerns about the knee injuries he dealt with over the past two years could tank his chances of being a late-round pick.

Media interviews will begin at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday while on-field workouts will commence at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday. The full schedule of interview and workout times for Ohio State’s combine invitees is below.

2024 NFL Combine Schedule for Ohio State Draft Prospects
Day Workouts Media Interviews
Wednesday None LB Steele Chambers, 9 a.m.
LB Tommy Eichenberg, 9:20 a.m.
DT Mike Hall, 10 a.m.
Thursday 3-8:30 p.m., NFL Network
DT Mike Hall (Group 1)
LBs Steele Chambers and Tommy Eichenberg (Group 3)
S Josh Proctor, 9:30 a.m.
TE Cade Stover, 10:30 a.m.
Friday 3-8:30 p.m., NFL Network
S Josh Proctor (Group 5)
TE Cade Stover (Group 6)
WR Marvin Harrison Jr., 8:20 a.m.
RB Miyan Williams, 10:40 a.m.
Saturday 1-8:30 p.m., NFL Network
RB Miyan Williams (Group 7)
WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (Group 8)*
G Matt Jones, 10 a.m.
Sunday 1-4:30 p.m., NFL Network
G Matt Jones (Group 10)
*Not expected to work out

Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for coverage of Ohio State’s combine participants throughout the week.

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