NFL Draft: Dayton, Ohio State players help themselves at Senior Bowl

Senior Bowl weekend seems to have been a good one for Dayton’s Adam Trautman and multiple players from Ohio State.

Trautman, a star tight end for the Flyers, traveled to Mobile, Ala., with much to prove to NFL talent evaluators and himself.

>>RELATED:  Dayton TE looking forward to testing himself at Senior Bowl 

He started generating buzz almost immediately from various media sources and capped the week with two catches for 10 yards in the game Saturday.

"Starting with the early-morning weigh-ins, Trautman put together a solid day for the draft's highest-ranked senior tight end," wrote Dane Brugler of The Athletic after the first day of practice. "Measuring at 6-foot-5 and 251 pounds with 32 1/2-inch arms and 9 5/8-inch hands, he was physical with the football during practice, relying on his frame and toughness to finish catches. Trautman isn't overly sudden, but he is very smooth at the top of his routes, holding defenders just enough to give the quarterback a workable passing window. He showed why he is considered a top-75 prospect in this class." 

Also finding himself frequently the subject of praise was Ohio State receiver K.J. Hill, who took the quick feet, reliable hands and route-running savvy he used to become the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in receptions and showed it off for a new audience throughout the week.

Hill caught one pass for one yard and had an 18-yard punt return while fellow Ohio State receiver Austin Mack caught one pass for 14 yards.

Ohio State offensive lineman Jonah Jackson also appears to have helped his draft stock while linebacker Malik Harrison showed up in the game with an interception.

According to Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, Hill was named the top receiver on the North squad during practice by players on the opposing team while fellow-former Buckeye DaVon Hamilton earned the same distinction among defensive linemen.

Brugler also was impressed by Hill, prompting him to praise the job Brian Hartline is doing as receivers coach at Ohio State.

Credit to Ohio State wide receiver coach Brian Hartline and the Buckeyes program, which continues to churn out intriguing wide receiver talent. Last year, it was Terry McLaurin who shined in Mobile, and Tuesday it was K.J. Hill (6-0, 192) and Austin Mack (6-1, 212). Both had some lackluster moments, especially Mack with his drops, but the lasting impression from both was their route polish. They understand sink and tempo mid-route, creating their own separation based on their pattern pacing. The instincts and route mechanics they learned in Columbus will continue to pay off for them once they reach the NFL.

Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus noted Hill impressed by succeeding against press coverage on the outside after playing mostly in the slot at Ohio State.

The way he manipulates leverage and varies the pacing in his routes is at a veteran NFL level already. That's a nice combination to possess projecting forward.

Renner also praised Jackson for his “elite hand usage” and ability to maintain blocks.

Next up for NFL Draft hopefuls is the annual Scouting Combine. That is set for Feb. 23-March 2 in Indianapolis.

About the Author