Skull Session: The Senator Has Spoken, Brian Hartline Likes Mel Kiper's Mock Draft and C.J. Stroud is Insanely Accurate

By Chase Brown on January 26, 2023 at 5:00 am
Ryan Day

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Let's have a good Thursday, shall we?

 THE SENATOR HAS SPOKEN. Ryan Day has been a polarizing person in Columbus since Nov. 26, 2022, when Ohio State was defeated by [REDACTED] in the Horseshoe and suffered its second consecutive loss to [REDACTED] – the first time either of those outcomes had occurred in over two decades.

As opinions about Day continue to be a hotly debated topic of conversation in Buckeye Nation, Jim Tressel shared his thoughts on Day and the direction of the Ohio State football program with him as its head coach earlier this week.

“I'm a Ryan Day fan,” Tressel said. “I think he's got something about him.”

Tressel made his remarks about Day while discussing the current state of college football with the NCAA transfer portal and NIL becoming driving factors in the sport. He admitted he and Urban Meyer never had to deal with either of those things, claiming Day coaches in a different world than they ever did, one Tressel believes Day is capable of navigating and championing.

“The people who spend a lot of time whining about (the NCAA transfer portal and NIL) aren't going to progress,” Tressel said. “The people who try to figure out how to do it well are going to be much ahead. ... I think Ryan Day is going to navigate this. Sure, he's going to lose some players, and, sure, there's going to be a player or two who comes to him.

“He's never going to be a guy who runs all over the place and has 19 roster changes. He's going to recruit well and build within.

As far as votes of confidence or seals of approval go, receiving one from The Senator himself is pretty darn good. Perhaps more than anybody in the entire world, Tressel is always calculated and meticulous with his speech, hence his nickname.

Because of that, we must understand that Tressel's words about Day are honest and true. He sees a bright future ahead for Ohio State football under Day's guidance, which means a lot. The Senator has spoken.

 “THAT'S A LITTLE BETTER.” ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of 2023 on Wednesday, which featured C.J. Stroud, Paris Johnson Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba coming off the board within the first 13 picks.

Kiper listed Stroud as his first quarterback selected in the mock draft. He was the No. 2 pick for the Houston Texans, which drew both praise and criticism from college football and NFL fans on social media.

Kiper sees Stroud as “extremely accurate, can make every throw and has excellent touch at every level of the field.” But that's not all he likes about the 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback from Inland Empire, California:

I usually don't put much stock into a single game evaluation, but Stroud's performance in the narrow loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinals showed me something. He was spectacular against an elite defense, carving up the Bulldogs with his arm and using his legs to maneuver the pocket and find receivers.

Kiper then has Paris Johnson as the No. 11 pick for the Tennessee Titans, calling the versatile offensive lineman a “plug-and-play starter” at the next level because of his size (6-foot-6, 311-pounds) and athleticism.

Finally, Kiper sees Smith-Njigba as the No. 13 pick for the New York Jets, claiming the talented receiver “could be a star” for the right team at the next level. In this instance, that would be in the Big Apple alongside former Buckeye teammate Garrett Wilson (and Jeremy Ruckert, for that matter).

That would normally be a section like this. Three Buckeyes in the top 13 picks. That rocks! But that's not where this story ends.

After Kiper's mock draft was released, Brian Hartline was happy to see more respect given to Smith-Njigba by a draft analyst. Earlier this week, the Ohio State offensive coordinator tweeted at Kiper's co-worker Matt Miller to disagree with Miller's insinuation that his star receiver could fall to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 26 overall.

Hartline was happier with Kiper’s projection.

Never change, Coach Hartline.

 TALK ABOUT ACCURACY. There were many qualities that made C.J. Stroud one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best quarterback, in college football over the past two seasons. Chief among them was his accuracy.

Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus believes Stroud's accuracy and next-level anticipation will lead him to thrive in the NFL. Ohio State’s football Twitter account feels there’s no doubt he’s the most accurate QB in the 2023 draft class.

The NFL has ridiculous copyright claims and won't let me embed the entire segment of Stroud throwing during this competition, so click here to watch his whole session, which starts at 9:41 in the video.

 RECENCY BIAS STINKS. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker and New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson, a former Buckeye great, were named the three finalists for the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award on Wednesday.

The noticeable name left off the list? Wilson's Ohio State teammate and New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave.

Look, I understand Purdy was Mr. Irrelevant and began the year as a backup quarterback in San Francisco, became a starter after Trey Lance and Jimmy Garrapalo suffered injuries and led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. That's great. But does that make him more deserving of an Offensive Rookie of the Year award than Olave? Heck no.

To my knowledge, these awards are supposed to be awarded for regular-season statistics and performances only. If that is actually the case, Purdy made nine appearances and five starts for the 49ers, completing 114 of 170 passes for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. You can't tell me that's as good as Olave's 72 catches for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns with Red Ryder BB Gun Andy Dalton throwing him the football all year.

Olave was snubbed. I know it. You know it. Some of the most well-respected NFL media personalities know it.

 SONG OF THE DAY. “I FEEL IT” by Jon Bellion.

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