Skull Session: Ohio State Has Had Some Great Draft Classes Since 2000, Brice Sensabaugh is a "Basketball Weirdo" and C.J. Stroud Loves His Mom

By Chase Brown on May 5, 2023 at 5:00 am
Marvin Harrison Jr.
Joseph Scheller / Columbus Dispatch

Welcome to the Skull Session.

We've made it to the end of the week, so it's time to let Daniel Craig take it away.

Let's have a good Friday, shall we?

 OHIO STATE'S BEST DRAFT CLASS? In Tuesday's Skull Session, I discussed Ohio State's upcoming draft class and its opportunity to be the best class in school history – perhaps even college football history – as it features several players with first-round potential and many others who could be selected in later rounds.

Pro Football Focus, USA TODAY, ESPN and The Athletic have all predicted at least five Ohio State products will be first-round selections in 2024, including Marvin Harrison Jr. as a unanimous No. 2 overall pick and Emeka Egbuka, JT Tuimoloau, Mike Hall Jr. and Donovan Jackson to be off the board soon after.

Somebody tell me, is that good?

Should those selections occur as predicted, the Buckeyes' 2024 draft class would undoubtedly be the best the program has ever produced. And that's quite the accomplishment, considering how stacked some classes have been recently. Speaking of those recent classes, I want to have some Friday Fun™ and rank the top-five draft classes since 2000 to start this article. Feel free to agree or argue with me in the comments.

5. 2017 NFL Draft Class

  • Round 1 Picks (3): Marshon Lattimore (No. 11, New Orleans Saints), Malik Hooker (No. 15, Malik Hooker) and Gareon Conley (No. 24, Oakland Raiders)
  • Rounds 2-3 Picks (3): Curtis Samuel (No. 40, Carolina Panthers), Raekwon McMillan (No. 54, Miami Dolphins) and Pat Elflein (No. 70, Minnesota Vikings)
  • Rounds 4-7 Picks (1): Noah Brown (No. 239, Dallas Cowboys)

4. 2004 NFL Draft Class

  • Round 1 Picks (3): Will Smith (No. 18, New Orleans Saints), Chris Gamble (No. 28, Carolina Panthers) and Michael Jenkins (No. 29, Atlanta Falcons)
  • Rounds 2-3 Picks (4): Ben Hartstock (No. 68, Indianapolis Colts), Tim Anderson (No. 74, Buffalo Bills), B.J. Sander (No. 87, Green Bay Packers), Darrion Scott (No. 88, Minnesota Vikings)
  • Rounds 4-7 Picks (7): Alex Stepanovich (No. 100, Arizona Cardinals), Will Allen (No. 111, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Craig Krenzel (No. 148, Chicago Bears), Drew Carter (No. 163, Carolina Panthers), Rob Reynolds (No. 165, Tennessee Titans), Shane Olivea (No. 209, San Diego Chargers) and Adrien Clarke (No. 227, Philadelphia Eagles)
Will Smith Sr.
Will Smith Sr. was a standout defensive lineman for Ohio State that collected multiple Big Ten awards in his career, including Defensive Player of the Year in 2003. He later became a Super Bowl champion with the New Orleans Saints in 2010. (Photo: Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports)

3. 2020 NFL Draft Class

  • Round 1 Picks (4*): Joe Burrow* (No. 1, Cincinnati Bengals), Chase Young (No. 2, Washington Redskins), Jeff Okudah (No. 3, Detroit Lions) and Damon Arnette (No. 19, Las Vegas Raiders)
  • Rounds 2-3 Picks (4): J.K. Dobbins (No. 55, Baltimore Ravens), DaVon Hamilton (No. 73, Jacksonville Jaguars), Jonah Jackson (No. 75, Detroit Lions) and Malik Harrison (No. 98, Baltimore Ravens)
  • Rounds 4-7 Picks (3): Jordan Fuller (No. 199, Los Angeles Rams), K.J. Hill (No. 220, Los Angeles Chargers) and Jashon Cornell (No. 235, Detroit Lions)

*To count or not to count Joe Burrow as a Buckeye – that's for you to decide.

2. 2006 NFL Draft Class

  • Round 1 Picks (5): A.J. Hawk (No. 5, Green Bay Packers), Donte Whitner (No. 8, Buffalo Bills), Bobby Carpenter (No. 15, Dallas Cowboys), Santonio Holmes (No. 25, Pittsburgh Steelers) and Nick Mangold (No. 29, New York Jets)
  • Rounds 2-3 Picks (2): Ashton Youboty (No. 70, Buffalo Bills) and Anthony Schlegel (No. 76, New York Jets)
  • Rounds 4-7 Picks (2): Nate Salley (No. 121, Carolina Panthers) and Rob Sims (No. 128, Seattle Seahawks)
A.J. Hawk
A.J. Hawk was a two-time All-American, Lombardi Award winner and Jack Lambert Trophy recipient at Ohio State. The No. 5 overall pick to the Green Bay Packers in 2006, Hawk is the franchise's all-time leading tackler with 629 tackles in eight seasons. (Photo: Thomas Campbell, USA TODAY Sports)

1. 2016 NFL Draft Class

  • Round 1 Picks (5): Joey Bosa (No. 3, San Diego Chargers), Ezekiel Elliott (No. 4, Dallas Cowboys), Eli Apple (No. 10, New York Giants), Taylor Decker (No. 16, Detroit Lions) and Darron Lee (No. 20, New York Jets)
  • Rounds 2-3 Picks (5): Michael Thomas (No. 47, New Orleans Saints), Vonn Bell (No. 61, New Orleans Saints), Adolphus Washington (No. 80, Buffalo Bills), Braxton Miller (No. 85, Houston Texans) and Nick Vannett (No. 94, Seattle Seahawks)
  • Rounds 4-7 Picks (2): Joshua Perry (No. 102, San Diego Chargers) and Cardale Jones (No. 139, Buffalo Bills)

And that's how I see it, folks. The 2016 draft class, to me, is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of depth and talent, and the remaining classes fall in line. The 2006 draft class was crazy, too, and I think is clearly the second-best since the turn of the century. As for No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5, I would be open to some changes in the order, though I feel pretty confident in where they're listed now. What do you think?

 A "BASKETBALL WEIRDO." Brice Sensabaugh became one of college basketball's best young stars in 2022-23 amid a breakout season in which he averaged 16.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest for the Buckeyes.

As the Orlando, Florida, native prepares for the NBA draft (with the option to return to Ohio State), one of my favorite basketball writers, Corey Tulaba of No Ceilings, analyzed Sensabaugh, who he calls a "basketball weirdo," his freshman year performances and predicted how his game would translate to the next level.

Among many paragraphs of well-articulated analysis about Sensabaugh's polished mid-range game, consistent perimeter shooting and excellent rebounding, Tulaba wraps up his article with professional comps for Sensabaugh should he reach his full potential in the NBA: DeMar DeRozan and Devin Booker.

Those guys are masters of their craft in a way that I think Brice can one day be. They know their spots on the floor, and they’re in no rush to get to them. They force you to play at their pace. Neither guy was known as a playmaker in college; there was nothing in the numbers to suggest that that part of their game would develop. And yet, both of those guys have become much more complete offensive players throughout their careers, developing not only a more nuanced understanding of how to generate points for themselves but also for their teammates. So yes, I’ll buy into the flashes that Sensabaugh has shown, however few and far between they may be. The feel is there, and the scoring package is enticing as all hell. Sensabaugh isn’t going to wow you with a highlight reel and for that, some may limit his potential, but I think that’s the wrong approach. The outlandish numbers were cute at the beginning of the season, but we’ve gotten to a point at which it’s getting harder and harder to overlook the production. If he was on more pre-season lists with percentages like these at this point of the season, there wouldn’t even be a question if he was worthy of a lottery pick. I’m beyond that point. For me, the question is no longer about if I feel he’s worthy of the lotto conversation, but instead, it is just how high in that conversation can this basketball weirdo climb come draft night?

Selfishly, I hope Sensabaugh doesn't reach draft night and instead returns for another season at Ohio State, creating massive excitement around a team that should contend for a Big Ten title in 2023-24. However, Chris Holtmann's recent transfer portal additions to fill the Buckeyes' roster make that reality seem unrealistic.

I wish him well if and when Sensabaugh does fully declare for the draft. He's always been fun to watch, and I don't expect that to change once he reaches the association.

 MOMMA'S BOY. Before he arrived at Union Station in Kansas City, where the Houston Texans drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick, C.J. Stroud could have been doing a million different activities. Rather than do X, Y and Z, Stroud went to a flower shop, purchased his Mom, Kimberly, a dozen roses and hand-delivered them to her hotel room.

Kellyanne Stitts of ABC6 had the story:

As a self and others-proclaimed Momma's Boy, I found this very tender. I would do anything for my Mom, and so would Stroud. Kimberly raised him the right way, and Stroud proves that with how he acts and speaks, not only when the cameras are rolling and the mics are recording, but in ordinary day-to-day activities.

Cheers to him for the classy gesture. The Texans got a good one.

 NEW BEGINNINGS. Over the past few days, Ohio State football's media team has been working to create graphics for each former player drafted or signed as an undrafted free agent in 2023. Here is a look at them as we head into the weekend:

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Dream On' by Aerosmith.

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