NFL draft: Thoughts on evaluations of some Ohio State prospects

Credit: Cindy Ord

Credit: Cindy Ord

With the NFL scouting combine coming to Indianapolis this week, draft season is in full force.

Here's a look at the profile of each Ohio State prospect with my thoughts on their evaluation and what each Buckeye might be able to accomplish at the combine.

Dwayne Haskins, quarterback

Shocker: They love his arm and overall passing ability.

Haskins cuts the profile of your standard NFL drop-back quarterback, but I also found it notable they recognize his strong support system.

I see that as a good and important point given the reasonable concerns about his overall experience level (“Lacks in-game adversity challenges”). That will be important since some team will probably take him and throw him to the wolves.

To me, questions about Haskins can’t be answered at the combine, but if he has great workouts perhaps teams decide he is more athletic than he sometimes appears on film (especially since he was not willing to run early in the season) and he moves closer to the No, 1 pick than say No. 10.

His game gained some versatility later in the season, so there’s great potential.

He has great self confidence so little reason to believe early struggles will break him as happens with some young QBs, but there will almost certainly be growing pains because he just needs to see more coverages, get more reps and refine his feel for the little things like touch on throws and timing on intermediate routes. (They take issue with the latter, but it’s not something that stuck out to me. Maybe he was a little late sometimes but made up for it with the velocity.)

Another random thought from me; Haskins might be a good example of the value of making guys draft-able but also able to stay in school so he could refine his game without compromising earning potential. 

Obviously, he passes the look test: “Sawed-off frame with Venice Beach musculation throughout.”

Not surprisingly, they are big on his strength, motor and how he uses his hands.

(The later is proof of what Larry Johnson can do for even a five-star prospect coming out of high school.)

Also cite his versatility thanks to playing inside early in his career but (perhaps curiously) want him to make more tackles.

Of course the combine gives him the opportunity to prove he is fully recovered from core muscle surgery that ended his season in September.

Despite rating him as a potential Pro Bowler, is concerned about his twitch and quickness, so perhaps the three-cone drill would make him look like an even better prospect. (More of a sure thing as the No. 1 prospect, I guess?)

They also say he is less flexible in the hips than brother Joey, whose a little taller and longer.

Both Bosas eat, sleep and breathe football, which personnel people obviously love. loves his athleticism, quickness, speed and motor.

That’s a pretty good start in becoming a highly regarded prospect, eh?

I would expect him to interview well, too. He is both knowledgable and personable.

They are concerned with his strength and base and ability to beat big strong blockers, so he could benefit from displaying strength at the combine.

They wonder if he is just a really good blow-and-go penetrator (which would make him more valuable in some schemes than others) lacking strength to anchor.

He does play high, but this is also correctable.

Easier to get stronger than twitchier, right?

He’s still rated as an instant starter.

They like his general running back ability but imply he lacks extra stuff in his game to be a difference-maker.

Probably true.

Has good vision and runs hard but isn’t necessarily quick enough or big enough to exploit cuts he sees and does not “stack moves”.

Also lacks breakaway speed.

To me he showed more zip this year than last so I wonder if he’s still on the upswing even though we generally regard guys with his experience level a finished product. (They often aren’t.)

Might have a little more room to grow, and he is a great example of someone who is good enough to stick around the league for a long time (especially if he improves just a tad) or be out early if he isn’t healthy or just doesn’t find the right situation.

So here’s another guy who perhaps with an exceptional workout can get teams to look at his tape again and perhaps spin his abilities more positively.

Also think he will interview well and is someone who loves to play and will put in the work.

A three-year starter who is still young, he has everything but ideal quickness, including room to grow.

Versatility helps on draft day, but I think he’s a guard.

I see him continuing to develop physically and becoming a dominant guard who has the length to play outside in a pinch.

Other than quickness, the flaws they cite (“Wide first step causes him to overshoot his mark,” “Strikes and sinks feet rather than improving positioning,” and “Opens pathway for delayed blitzes when looking for work.”) can mostly be fixed.

Put it all together and agree he’s a 2nd or 3rd round pick.

Has desired frame and good enough athleticism but plays high and a little stiff according to the site.

To me he is a great example of the fine line between good and great prospect.

Prince is a hard worker and team leader who will impress some teams with attitude but his emotional demeanor could turn off others. (That’s life.)

Had some ups and downs at Ohio State, but he will definitely compete.

Probably a guy who struggles with the elite players in the league but can handle everything else consistently.

They call him a right tackle only, so perhaps great workouts get some teams to raise his ceiling a bit. Of course a bad workout could be really damaging since his tape is good not great.

They like his physicality and route running but are concerned about his quickness, “build-up speed” and the way he catches the ball.

McLaurin seemed to outperform his tape at Senior Bowl, so he will probably be someone scouts are extra interested in as far as workouts at the combine.

He is not expected to blow anyone away in workouts, so he has an opportunity to surprise if he runs fast, looks quick, etc.

They love his speed but say he gives away routes with some of his mannerisms and is hurt by lack of size.

Dixon basically is an outside deep threat built like a slot receiver.

He needs to run well to preserve status as a prospect, but it is easy to se him as a classic “it only takes one to fall in love” pick as far as actually getting drafted.

I can see teams saying “he was next on our board if we didn’t take this guy” multiple times and dropping or getting snapped up surprisingly early.

Could be a great value pick late or UFA who develops into a fourth or fifth WR with the right coaching and opportunity.

Also a plus personality/attitude and a player who persevered through injuries early in his career and I would expect to be a willing learner.

Can’t teach speed like he has.

He is rated as an NFL backup or special-teamer, a grade that is as high as it is because of his physical ability and low as it is because of his actual football skills.

True to his status as a five-star prospect coming out of high school, he shows all the talent but hasn’t been able to consistently transfer that to production.

To sum it up: “His ceiling is fairly high thanks to his speed and explosiveness, but he needs to prove he’s more than just a fast guy.”

Nevertheless, someone will decide they can mold him into a productive NFL player because he does all the stuff you can’t teach.

NOTE: Curiously absent is Parris Campbell, who is a fantastic athlete with great production and personality who figures to be drafted sooner than later.

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