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Opinion: Where will Buckeyes at the Scouting Combine fall in the 2015 NFL Draft?

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For four now-former Ohio State football players, the next chapters of their football careers are just around the corner.

Tight end Jeff Heuerman, cornerback Doran Grant, wide receiver Devin Smith and defensive lineman Michael Bennett all earned invitations to the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, set to begin Tuesday.

Where will these former Buckeyes land? It all starts in Indianapolis.

 

Jeff Heuerman

Heuerman, who was tabbed as the second-best tight end prospect by ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper before the 2014 season, might have fallen since that time because of a drop-off in production from the 2013 season.

The Florida native, who caught 26 passes for 466 yards and four scores in 2013, caught just 17 passes in 2014 for 207 and two scores.

The decline in production could be attributed to nagging injuries, one of which forced him to miss OSU’s third game of the season against Kent State.

That being said, Heuerman has shown his ability to run and pass block in coach Urban Meyer’s complex offensive system and not many will argue with his pass-catching ability.

If Heuerman can impress in Indianapolis, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be either the first or second tight end off the board.

 

Projection: 2nd round

 

Doran Grant

Just a year ago, many Buckeye fans were worrying about how the OSU secondary would improve on a 112th ranked pass defense after losing Bradley Roby to the first round of the draft.

Grant not only filled Roby’s shoes, but ran out of them.

Grant took on the likes of Tony Lippett and Amari Cooper during the 2014 season and greatly improved his draft stock, which many might say was nonexistent heading into the national title run.

The Akron product led a defensive secondary that led the Big Ten in passes defended, as the Buckeyes collected 25 interceptions in 2014, five of which belonged to Grant.

Grant earned a first team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches, and in the process, also an invitation to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.

While he might not go as high as Roby, he will likely give more effort to the team that selects him.

 

Projection: 4th round

 

Devin Smith

Arguably one of the best wide receivers to ever play at OSU, Smith soared up draft boards with his performances in the Big Ten title game and the Sugar Bowl.

The deep-ball threat not only led the Big Ten in yards per catch, he led the conference in touchdown receptions with 12, four of which came against Wisconsin and Alabama combined.

Smith, who became famous in Columbus for his game-winning catch against Wisconsin in 2011, continued to help the Buckeyes win games as OSU never lost a game in which Smith caught a touchdown pass.

It would be tough to argue that any player in college football helped his draft stock more than Smith down the stretch, and an impressive performance at the combine could even boost him higher.

 

Projection: Late 1st round

 

Michael Bennett

The anchor in the middle of the national title-winning defense at OSU was once a projected first round pick before sliding down draft boards early in the season.

Bennett, who did not record a sack until the fifth game of the year against Maryland, had a breakout game on the big stage in East Lansing, Mich., as he recorded a sack, and two tackles for loss in an upset win over Michigan State.

That performance, combined with a dominating two-sack, four-tackle for loss effort against Wisconsin put Bennett back on the map as a dominant force in college football.

While it might not be enough to get him back into the first round, his late-season dominance showed many teams that he can have a future at the nest level.


Projection: Late 1st, early 2nd round

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