INDIANAPOLIS -- Garrett Wilson came to Ohio three years ago to play his college football at Ohio State.
Could he end up starting his pro career in the Buckeye State, too?
Such a question frequently comes up this time of year considering Ohio has a pair of pro teams, and the Buckeyes annually pump out multiple pro prospects.
This year it might be more likely, though, because the All-American receiver could fill a big need for the Cleveland Browns, who are picking 13th in the first round.
The college connection is not the only one between Wilson and the Browns.
He is already well-acquainted with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, a fellow alumnus of storied Lake Travis High School in Texas.
“Baker’s my guy,” Wilson said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Although they were too far apart in age to play together, Wilson said Mayfield returned to his alma mater to coach seven-on-seven competitions.
Then they worked out together a few times during the original COVID-19 shutdown period in the spring of 2020.
“We actually threw together a couple times, so I know that Baker is a great player,” Wilson said. “We have a good relationship.”
After a sub-par, injury-plagued season, Mayfield could use more weapons.
Wilson, who caught 143 passes for 2,213 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons at Ohio State, is not the biggest prospect (6-foot, 192 pounds) but has drawn praise for his ability to get open and make tough catches.
He said he hopes to surprise with his 40-yard dash time this week, something that would refute a knock on him — pure speed — and he would be happy to land with the Browns in April.
“I did have a formal (meeting) with the Browns,” Wilson said. “It would be great to link up with Baker. Baker’s someone that did all the things that I wanted to do. Being a Heisman winner, that’s stuff you can only dream about, so watching him ball when I was younger, that was really awesome. Having that opportunity to maybe have that happen again would be awesome.”
The Browns, whose first coach was former Ohio State coach Paul Brown, have drafted more Ohio State players than any other franchise, though more than half of Cleveland’s 35 OSU draftees came before 1963, when Brown was fired.
They took 19 Buckeyes during Brown’s tenure and 16 since, including only one in the 1980s (Mark Krerowicz) and one in the ‘90s (Craig Powell).
They have taken four players from Ohio State since the turn of the century — tight end Darnell Sanders in 2002, receiver Brian Robiskie in 2009, cornerback Denzel Ward in 2018 and defensive tackle Tommy Togiai last year.
In all, Cleveland has drafted four Buckeyes in the first round, including Ward and Powell.
They used the No. 8 overall pick on linebacker Jim Houston in 1960 and the No. 11 overall pick on receiver Paul Warfield in 1964.
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