There are many NCAA schools riddled with NFL talent on their rosters. Each player has the sparkle in his eye and the hope of hearing his name called in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 27th. The reality is, not everyone can be selected during the seven-round NFL draft. Today, I break down the NFL talent from Ohio State University.
The Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes have ten prospects that have a chance to hear their name called during the 2017 NFL draft. Let’s take a more in-depth look at each player.
Malik Hooker – FS
Weight: 206 lbs.
Malik Hooker has the ability and the work ethic to make a great pro at the next level. Although Hooker is not known for his hitting/tackling, last season he recorded 74 tackles, 43 of those were solo tackles. Where is shine’s brightest, however, is in the passing game where he tallied 7 interceptions (3 for a touchdown) and 4 passes defended against.
While scouts are in love with Hooker’s ability to cover sideline-to-sideline, they also drool over his hip fluidity and “in-air” ball instincts.
I actually like Hooker’s second pick vs Bowling Green better than the leaping 1-hander. You can see he starts off facing/running toward CF pic.twitter.com/jCMlHWZ0LK
— Dylan DeSimone (@DylanADeSimone) April 1, 2017
Handful of plays: Ohio State S Malik Hooker pic.twitter.com/VJRwqWBPwJ
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) April 1, 2017
Perception is Hooker isn’t a hitter because he doesn’t plow through spear-style. But his leap and pull down method brings guys down hard. pic.twitter.com/3Ap9nzJs3l
— Dylan DeSimone (@DylanADeSimone) April 2, 2017
One Personnel director for an unnamed AFC team told NFL.com,
“Hook(er) is still so raw and you see him making all of those plays. He’s a player who will come in and look bad his first year and then be an all-pro by his third year. I think that’s his arc. No short-cut for experience.”
Malik Hooker will be selected very early in this draft. I see him going early in the 1st round to the Chicago Bears (3rd overall). This offseason, the Bears revamped their entire secondary by signing Quintin Demps (SS – Texans), Prince Amukamara (CB – Jaguars), and Marcus Cooper (CB – Chiefs) in free agency. The only missing piece is a center-fielder and Malik Hooker fits that mold beautifully.
Player comparison: Reggie Nelson
Marshon Lattimore – CB
Weight: 193 lbs.
Marshon Lattimore is one of the most talented prospects in the 2017 NFL draft. While he only has one year of starting experience, he notched 4 interceptions and 9 passes defended against. After watching Lattimore’s tape, Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus found:
Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore’s stats when targeted in press coverage:
6/23 85 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) April 8, 2017
Lattimore has a very impressive highlight tape….
How do you get to know a player beyond just his tape? Uninterrupted gave us a closer look at what kind of person Marshon Lattimore is and what kind of family he came from.
One Pro Personnel director for an unnamed AFC team told NFL.com,
“I’ve studied the top cornerbacks coming out and he’s the best I’ve seen. He’s so athletic that he can just post up under the receiver’s chin and shadow him all over the field. And he’s tough, too. He’ll be one of the top cornerbacks pretty quickly.”
A reason why I would advise against drafting Lattimore so high is his injury history. However, when he ran a 4.36 and 4.37 40-yard dash at the combine, he silenced many of doubters. That is world class speed.
All in all, I see Marshon Lattimore being selected early in the 1st round by the Los Angeles Chargers (7th overall). Lattimore brings toughness and insane athletic ability that would have an immediate impact on their defense.
Player comparison: Desmond Trufant
Gareon Conley – CB
Weight: 195 lbs.
Since the NFL combine, Gareon Conley’s name has soared in nearly every “expert’s” mock draft. He has good NFL cornerback size and plays much longer than his numbers indicates. He has 33″ arms which are abnormally large for his position.
A season ago, Conley registered 4 interceptions and 8 passes defended against. Scouts are raving about the fluidity of his hips.
— Nathan Cooper (@coopaloop08) March 30, 2017
gareon conley in the slot vs mike williams pic.twitter.com/T0H8Lved9g
— charles mcdonald (@FourVerts) March 25, 2017
Here is an interesting statistic on Conley courtesy of Pro Football Focus:
The leap Gareon Conley took in his second season as a full-time starter was impressive. 7 missed tackles as a starter in 2 seasons, also. pic.twitter.com/dTNZZkC5GB
— Conor Myles (@MylesSheet) March 31, 2017
Look for Conley to be selected in the middle of the 1st round by the Tennessee Titans (18th overall). With the new additions of Johnathan Cyprien (SS) and Logan Ryan (CB), the Titans recognize the need to upgrade their secondary. Conley would make a great compliment to Logan Ryan on the outside as well as in the slot.
Player comparison: Chris Harris Jr.
The Other Buckeyes
Curtis Samuel (WR) – Mid 2nd round (46th overall) – Indianapolis Colts
Raekwon McMillan (ILB) – Mid/Late 2nd round (52nd overall) – Cleveland Browns
Pat Elflein (C) – Early 3rd (70th overall) – New York Jets
Noah Brown (WR) – Early 4th round (112th overall) – Los Angeles Rams
Corey Smith (WR) – Undrafted
Cameron Johnston (P) – Undrafted
Dontre Wilson (WR) – Undrafted