Big Me Kickoff

BMK: Will The Buckeyes Shine In The Upcoming Draft?

We continue looking ahead to the upcoming NFL Draft with a special episode of the Big Me Kickoff. We are joined by Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network and spent more than 40 minutes talking not only about several Ohio State players who hope to hear their names called during the three-day draft celebration but also widened the scope to several of our great user’s questions.

Cummings has been burning the midnight oil with film evaluation and mock drafts. He recently returned home from the Senior Bowl and logs plenty of hours familiarizing himself with all of the players that could come off the board in April, including quite a few Ohio State players.

Most Ohio State draft conversations start with the fate of quarterback CJ Stroud. There is little doubt that Stroud will join Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields as recent Ohio State first-round draft picks, but Stroud could find himself going higher than either.

ALSO: Check out Ian Cummings’ latest mock draft

That is an interesting thought with a handful of Ohio State fans still trying to process what Stroud’s legacy with the Buckeyes will be, no wins against Michigan, no Big Ten titles and getting so very close to so many yearly goals.

When it comes to what the NFL is going to see, Cummings believes that NFL personnel will see a quarterback with many of the tools necessary to be a perennial winner in the league.

“I have CJ Stroud going number one at this time,” Cummings explained from his latest mock draft, having the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts engineering a trade that would send Stroud to Indy. Cummings was quick to point out that this is just his current mock draft and that he has written likely a dozen so far this cycle. “I think he fits the (Colts) prototype, he has the size at 6-foot-3, 218 (pounds). To me, he is probably the best pocket operator in the class, we saw that against Georgia but also throughout the year. He had a few hiccups along the way but the accuracy and the processing ability, I love a lot of what he has to offer.”

There will be plenty more opportunities for quarterbacks including Stroud, Bryce Young, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson to all try and stake their claim to being the top quarterback in the class. Ultimately, it will come down to whoever holds the highest pick and has a quarterback need that will determine who comes off the board first.

Ohio State has three offensive linemen in the draft class that will all hear their names with Paris Johnson, Dawand Jones and Luke Wypler.

Cummings was a fan of all three players for what they have accomplished and while it seems that they will come off the board in the aforementioned order, each has shown plenty but have things to work on to unlock their full potentials.

On Paris Johnson: “The first thing that comes to mind with him is the combination of explosiveness and length. For power generation you need that burst off the line, you need that length so you can fully extend, out-reach guys and make contact first. I think the footwork can still be a little bit cleaner. Sometimes he leaves his torso a little bit too open.”

On Dawand Jones: “We have got to start with the size, right? That is the first thing that stands out. The guy is huge and that shows up on tape, he towers over everyone he plays against. As soon as he extends his arms, it is over for you. It does come with its drawbacks, offensive line leverage is a very important part of the position, being as big as he is, naturally it is going to be a little difficult to manage that sometimes. That said, I think for his size he does it very well.”

On Luke Wypler: “I think we he did go up against Jalen Carter, he was doing a really good job of replacing his hands, establishing that anchor and holding that ground. (Wypler’s) a strong guy but he is 6-3, 300, so you know a little bit lighter sometimes than the guy that you’re facing across from you. So, when they get initial contact and when they start to generate power, sometimes it can be a little difficult for him to stall that rush and really prevent displacement.”

Staying on the offensive side of the ball, Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be an interesting study, not playing much of his final year of college football after a hamstring injury suffered in the Notre Dame game essentially derailed the entire season.

Draft experts have been mixed when it comes to where JSN may land and while the current mock from Cummings has him going No. 22 overall to Baltimore, the lack of a true consensus top wide receiver in this draft could create a lot of intrigue at the position for teams looking at the position.

“The things that a receiver has to do to win a rep, he is outrageously consistent at those things,” Cummings said of Smith-Njigba. “You look at the separation ability, the spatial awareness, the ability to manipulate the tempo and pacing of his routes and the leverage… that’s all there for him. When he is open, you know he can make the play. But when he is contested too, he has outrageous instincts, body control, ball-tracking ability, his ability to haul in the pass well in-balance, I think he is one of the best, if not the best in the class.”

This is only a sampling of our 40-minute discussion, be sure to check out the entire podcast to get Cummings full thoughts on each of these players and so much more.

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