Dwayne Haskins’ media appearance at the NFL Scouting Combine had a lot in common with his performance against Michigan in November.
The Ohio State quarterback came out hot and never relented, stating his case to be the face of a franchise at the next level and displaying the confidence to carry a team through good times and bad.
He also brushed aside the perception he isn’t mobile enough.
“Hah,” he said with a smirk. “That’s how I feel about it.”
Haskins took questions for nearly 20 minutes and covered a range of topics, from how he decided to leave Ohio State with two years of eligibility left to where he might play next.
“It wasn’t a hard decision,” Haskins said. “I knew before the season started I had the talent to go play in the NFL. I just had to put it on film out on the field. I just had to go play, and I felt like I played pretty well this year, so I made that jump.”
He was considered the likely first quarterback taken in the draft, but Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray’s decision to enter the draft instead of play baseball for the Oakland A’s has created a debate, at least among draftniks.
“I’m not worried about Kyler,” Haskins said. "I’m just worried about me. I’m gonna do what I need to do in meetings and out on the field tomorrow to showcase my talents. I know I’m a franchise quarterback and I’m going to be a great quarterback in the NFL.”
But hearing his name called before any other signal-callers on April 25 at the draft in Nashville would be cool, right?
“It’s not that important to me,” Haskins said. “For me it’s being with the right franchise, being with the right team and winning Super Bowls. Whether that is first quarterback taken, second quarterback taken, it’s all a blessing regardless of where I’m going, what the pick is per se, but I don’t really care as far as being QB1 or QB2. That doesn’t matter to me.”
Haskins made the most of his one season as a starter, shattering 28 Ohio State records and seven Big Ten marks.
His 4,831 passing yards, 50 touchdown passes and 4,939 yards of total offense are all conference records, and Haskins broke Ohio State’s single-season record for passing yards per game (345.9), completion percentage (69.8) and pass efficiency (174.7).
Haskins also broke the Ohio State single-game record for passing yards (499 against Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game), completions and attempts (49 for 73 against Purdue).
Against Michigan, Haskins completed 20 of 31 passes for 396 yards and six touchdowns against a Michigan defense that entered the game leading the nation with an average of 123.2 yards passing allowed per game.
“I knew before the season I could go to the NFL,” Haskins said. "I just had to play.
“I played every game to get better. I knew that once I got through the season I put enough on film, threw for 4,800 yards and left some yards on the field, left some touchdowns on the field. I know I can get better and have a lot of potential in front of me so I feel like I can make the jump.”
In his final game, a 28-23 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl, Haskins passed former Wayne High School star Braxton Miller to move into ninth place on Ohio State’s career passing yardage list with 5,396. Miller threw for 5,292 yards from 2011-15.
Haskins’ 54 career touchdown passes are tied with Troy Smith for No. 4 in Ohio State annals.
Haskins is looking to make more history in April.
No Big Ten quarterback has been take in the first round of the NFL draft since Kerry Collins of Penn State went No. 5 overall to the Carolina Panthers in 1995.
The last Ohio State quarterback taken in the first round was Art Schlichter, who went to the Colts with the No. 4 pick in 1982.
As the draft season wears on, there is a lot of speculation the New York Giants could be in the market for a quarterback with the No. 6 pick.
Haskins grew up in New Jersey rooting for Big Blue, so he said he would welcome a chance to suit up for them — even if it means sitting for a year behind veteran Eli Manning.
He already knows what that’s like thanks to watching J.T. Barrett pilot the Buckeye attack during Haskins’ first two seasons in Columbus.
“Sitting behind J.T. Barrett for two years learning how to be a quarterback, how to be a leader, how to prepare,” Haskins said. “He taught me how to watch film. Just being able to learn from him was probably more beneficial than playing.”
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