If you’re a fan of the NFL, even in the slightest, there’s a good chance that the past two weeks have felt like two years. Imagine, just for a second, what these two weeks have felt like for the players who’ve put in years of work all leading up to the coming days.
With the NFL Draft set to take place two weeks later than it has in the past, just about everyone is going crazy with draft projections, analysis and anticipation.
Well, I’m here to offer even more of the aforementioned projections, as we take a look at some former Buckeyes and where they could land during the 2014 NFL Draft.
Ryan Shazier, OLB
The first Buckeye off the board will be linebacker Ryan Shazier, who is coming off a first-team Associated Press All-American selection as well as nominations for the Butkus, Bednarik and Lott Awards. Shazier came in the top five of Butkus Award voting.
The biggest knock on Shazier is his size, coming in at only 6 feet 1 inch and 237 pounds at the NFL Combine, but the prospect has done all that he can to shed the “small” label, as he’s put on significant weight heading into the draft.
Ultimately, Shazier’s size is what will keep him from being a top 15 selection, but his tremendous vision and athleticism will land him somewhere in the first round.
Best case: No. 21 to the Green Bay Packers
Worst case: No. 31 to the Denver Broncos
Bradley Roby, CB
At one time, Mr. Roby was considered to be a top-10 lock, as he was the most talented and athletic corner in the entirety of college football.
Fast forward a year and all of a sudden, there’s no telling where he may go.
Since the time of the top-10 projections, Roby has alarmed NFL teams with numerous red flags, the most telling of which may have been his 2013 season. Roby was not at his best for the Buckeyes in 2013 and as a result, saw his draft stock take a significant hit. Couple a less-than-stellar final collegiate campaign with an arrest and a recent citation and Roby’s projections have been wildly altered.
The bottom line is Roby is still the speedy, athletic and talented corner that he once was, but he may be too much of a risk to take in the first round. That being said, all it takes is one team to look past the red flags and fall in love with the raw talent.
It may be hard to believe, but Roby is going to ride his talent past all of his recent flaws and end up in the late first to mid-second round.
Best Case: No. 24 to the Cincinnati Bengals
Worst Case: No. 42 to the Tennessee Titans
Carlos Hyde, RB
Widely regarded as the top running back in the 2014 class, Hyde should be a first-round selection. However, something interesting has happened over the past couple of seasons that could prevent that from happening.
The running back position, for one reason or another, has been tremendously devalued since the Cleveland Browns took Trent Richardson with the third overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. Teams feel that they can find top quality backs in the later rounds of the draft and, in this pass-happy league, it’s hard to argue.
Three years ago, Hyde, the athletic, tough, strong, durable running back might have been a top 15 pick. Now, however, unfortunately for him, he’d be incredibly lucky to go in the first round.
With the value of running backs reeling, Hyde could very well see a free fall, but it will be for no other reason than the position he plays.
Best Case: No. 26 to the Cleveland Browns
Worst Case: No. 65 to the Houston Texans
Jack Mewhort, OL
Mewhort has drawn the praises of just about everyone he’s been around. He was a team leader a year ago, a guy who Ohio State coach Urban Meyer fell in love with early on and a big part of the successes of the Buckeyes’ offense last season.
While Mewhort anchored the OSU offensive line at the left tackle position, his size and skill set don’t quite translate to that of an NFL left tackle.
A position change is surely at play for the former Buckeye, who will likely find himself a center or a guard before he finds himself a tackle, but his character, work ethic and talent will make him an easy selection near the middle of this draft.
Mewhort is going to find a way to make an impact, no matter where he may end up.
Best Case: No. 81 to the Miami Dolphins
Worst Case: No. 144 to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Christian Bryant, DB
Christian Bryant is yet another interesting case in terms of NFL Draft stock.
A leader and a captain for the Buckeyes in 2013, Bryant sustained a broken ankle during OSU’s battle with Wisconsin that ultimately cost him the rest of the season and his career.
Could that injury derail the chances of Bryant being drafted? Sure.
Will his smaller stature also cost him an opportunity to be drafted? Absolutely.
Will he be drafted? Yes.
Bryant is one of those guys who plays much larger than he stands and that quality, along with his high character and his great work ethic, will lure a team into drafting him.
Best Case: 6th Round
Worst Case: Undrafted
Corey Linsley, C
Much like Mewhort, Linsley was a key part of the dominance of the OSU running attack in 2013. Again, like Mewhort, his size just doesn’t translate that well to the NFL game.
Linsley is strong, which will intrigue many NFL scouts, but he’s just not skilled enough to be a legitimate option near the top end of this draft.
I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot, and maybe I have, but it’s Linsley’s work ethic and character, as well as his ability as a leader, that will earn him a spot in this draft. That being said, when Mr. Irrelevant is selected, Linsley may find himself left out of the draft altogether.
Best Case: 7th Round
Worst Case: Undrafted
The rest of the Buckeyes – including Kenny Guiton, C.J. Barnett, Corey Brown, Andrew Norwell, Drew Basil, Jordan Hall and Marcus Hall – are going to have to make their way onto an NFL team as undrafted free agents. All of them have skill sets that could forge them a spot on a NFL roster, but overall, the draft will not be the place for these guys to make their mark.