Skull Session: Former Buckeyes Debut in NFL Preseason, C.J. Stroud Is QB1 For 2023 NFL Draft and Terry McLaurin Is That Dude

By Chase Brown on August 15, 2022 at 5:00 am
The Heisman Trophy favorite slinging the rock.

Monday can be the worst day of the week, but that's why you came here – to start it with a smile.

This Skull Session has a lot of football if you're into that sort of thing. I'm guessing you are if you read Eleven Warriors, so have fun.

 BUCKEYE DEBUTS IN THE NFL. With the Ohio State football season 19 days away, fans of the program can be left with an insatiable thirst for the scarlet and gray. 

That thirst could be partially quenched over the weekend with NFL preseason games, with several of the contests featuring former Buckeyes, including first-round picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, second-round pick Jeremy Ruckert and undrafted free agent signee Master Teague, among others.

While Wilson’s stat line – two catches for 25 yards – might not indicate all that much, NFL analysts seemingly agreed that Wilson performed well in his brief outing. Wilson created separation with his athleticism and technique for both of his catches, while his ball skills and catch radius allowed him to secure the reception.

Olave had a similar outing for the Saints, drawing the start and logging 15 offensive snaps. His only target was a short dump-off pass from reserve quarterback Ian Book, which Olave caught for 4 yards.

Still, this video of Olave walking out the tunnel for his first NFL appearance should have every Buckeye fan ready for what he’ll do this season:

In one NFL preseason game, Ruckert has one-third of the number of touchdowns he caught for Ohio State in 2021. With the Jets facing fourth down on the goal line, the 6-5, 262-pound tight end ran a drag route behind the line of scrimmage and was left unguarded by the Eagles’ defense for a touchdown.

The Ohio State football Twitter account offered Ruckert a proper shoutout for his standout performance in his first NFL preseason game.

Teague looked strong in his debut with the Steelers, rushing for 31 yards on six carries. He still faces an uphill battle to earn a roster spot in Pittsburgh as the organization returns Najee Harris, Benny Snell Jr. and Anthony McFarland Jr. from last season’s roster.

Hopefully, Teague is on head coach Mike Tomlin’s list of 53 after the preseason. While I still won’t root for the Steelers, I would appreciate hearing “Teagueeee!” rumble through Heinz Field Acrisure Stadium should he ever earn some carries.

 C.J. STROUD, QB1. At this time last year, C.J. Stroud had not yet thrown a collegiate pass. One season and countless broken records later, several NFL scouts told ESPN they think the Ohio State star will be the first quarterback taken in the 2023 NFL draft.

In a survey of 12 NFL scouts, five of them voted for Stroud to be the top quarterback in next year’s draft after he threw for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns with only six interceptions in his first year as a starter.

“He just doesn’t make mistakes,” one scout said. “Some might see him as too cautious, but he picks apart the defenses with his accuracy and his patience.”

The scouts believe front office executives and NFL head coaches will salivate over Stroud’s arm strength, which allows him to push the ball all over the field. If he continues to show improvement with his timing and accuracy outside the hash, he’ll be at the top of many NFL teams’ big boards – if he’s not there already.

“He’s the most polished,” another scout said of Stroud. “You worry about that offense (at Ohio State) and his readiness from a progression standpoint, but his mechanics are clean, and he’s a big guy.”

ESPN’s Matt Miller compared Stroud to Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert because of their comparable arm strength and frames. Miller also believes Stroud’s running ability “could explode in the NFL” even though he had a net loss of 20 yards on 32 rushing attempts last season.

“He just doesn’t make mistakes... Some might see him as too cautious, but he picks apart the defenses with his accuracy and his patience.”– NFL scout on C.J. Stroud

 MCLAURIN INSPIRING NEXT GENERATION. To continue with NFL-related content, former Buckeye wide receiver Terry McLaurin was the latest Buckeye to spend time with fans after his team’s practice session.

The Washington Commanders detailed their star wideout’s experience with the fans and interviewed his father in the latest episode of “All-Access: Washington Commanders,” revealing McLaurin’s heart behind those actions and how he wants to inspire the next generation of footballers through his compassion.

I know many Skull Session readers are looking for quick hitters to start their mornings, but I recommend carving out some extra time to watch McLaurin’s story in the full-length episode. His feature begins at the three-minute mark and runs until the seven-minute mark.

 FIVE IRON BUCKEYES NAMED CAPTAINS. When looking at the Ohio State players named team captains over the weekend, I couldn’t help but notice that five of the six were Iron Buckeyes for their diligent work in the offseason.

Coincidence? I think not!

Head coach Ryan Day has not minced his words in July and August that his team lacked leadership last season, and it seems the players who worked the hardest in the spring and summer filled that void rather quickly.

Stroud, who received the most votes from his teammates, was the only captain not listed as an Iron Buckeye in the offseason. Wide receiver Kamryn Babb, linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, defensive end Tyler Friday, tight end Cade Stover and safety Kourt Williams all received that honor for their performance in offseason workouts, and they now hold equal leadership status with the Heisman Trophy finalist.

It appears that there is a correlation between hard work and leadership. Anyone in the locker room who wants to be a captain in the future should probably start taking notes on how Babb, Eichenberg, Friday, Stover and Williams have gone about their business.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “Casualty” by Lawrence feat. Jon Bellion.

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