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Phil Harrison

Final call for where Ohio State football players will land in the NFL draft

It is finally here.

The NFL draft is a year-round speculative monster these days, and we’ve heard about every possible scenario, twists, turns and train wrecks leading up to the big day that is finally here.

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Don’t believe us?

Wait and see what how long it takes for the projections of next year’s NFL draft to come out after the curtain falls in Kansas City on Saturday night.

Of course, if you are here, then you’re mining for Ohio State football content on your favorite Buckeye players and where they might land. If so, you’ve come to the right place if you trust us at all (and I mean, who CAN you really trust with NFL mock drafts?).

We’ve sat back, watched, read the Buckeye leaves, and all the various NFL mock drafts and are ready to make the final call on where we believe all Ohio State football players eligible for the draft might land. The keyword is might, and we probably could have used a more scientific method of lining up all the players and teams and throwing darts and flipping coins to determine it all.

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Nevertheless, here is where we believe each Buckeye could potentially land starting Thursday through Saturday in the 2023 NFL draft. Lock it in — or at least write it all down in pencil and have a mammoth eraser nearby.

C.J. Stroud, Quarterback

Nov. 26, 2022; Columbus, Ohio; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) waits to hike the ball against Michigan Wolverines in the fourth quarter of their game at Ohio Stadium. USA TODAY Sports

The Prediction

No. 4 to the Indianapolis Colts (First Round)

Why it Makes Sense

There is too much smoke out there to not believe Stroud will fall at least a little bit. Indy is in need of a quarterback, and unless a team trades up ahead of the No. 4 slot, this looks like a good landing spot for Stroud.

Paris Johnson Jr., Offensive Tackle

Nov. 5, 2022; Evanston, Illinois; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (77) headshot during the second half at Ryan Field. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Prediction

No. 9 to the Chicago Bears (First Round)

Why it Makes Sense

The Bears addressed the wide receiving corps to assist the dynamic Justin Fields at quarterback already and the next logical step is to try to upgrade the offensive line. Left tackle seems like a great place to start and Johnson is arguably the best available.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wide Receiver

Sept. 3, 2022; Columbus; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) is tackled on a kick return by Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback TaRiq Bracy (28) during the NCAA football game at Ohio Stadium. Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

The Prediction

No. 12 to the Houston Texans (First Round)

Why it Makes Sense

Smith-Njigba may have gone off the board earlier if not for a hamstring injury that kept him out of most of the season last year, but he still has plenty of tape and stats to show what he can do. The Texans are in the market for a wide receiver and will have already addressed another need with an earlier pick.

Dawand Jones, Offensive Tackle

Dec. 31, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Dawand Jones (79) celebrates a touchdown by wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (18) during the first half of the Peach Bowl in the College Football Playoff semifinal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

The Prediction

No. 50 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Second Round)

Why it Makes Sense

With the loss of Tom Brady, and with what we saw from the inability to protect him up front last season, the Bucs need to address the offensive line. Jones has a tremendous upside and is a great value pick here for Tampa.

Luke Wypler, Center

Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Luke Wypler (53) against Minnesota Golden Gophers during their game at Huntington Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sept. 2, 2021. USA TODAY Sports

The Prediction

No. 65 to the Houston Texans (Third Round)

Why it Makes Sense

Some mock drafts have Wypler falling further than this, but center is an underrated position of need in the NFL and the Texans could use an upgrade. Don’t be surprised if the Texans nab the early entry here. Also, don’t be surprised if they don’t. I mean, that’s kind of where we are now, right?

Zach Harrison, Defensive End

Zach Harrison #9 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts following a play in the third quarter of a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 1, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Ben Jackson/Getty Images

The Prediction

No. 101 to the San Francisco 49ers (Third Round)

Why it Makes Sense

Harrison has freakish measurables and athletic abilities, but the film doesn’t show him getting the most out of his God-given abilities. A team could fall in love with all of those metrics and fast-twitch ability and have him go off the board earlier, but we think he falls to the late third round to the Niners who need an edge rusher. OSU bookends?

Ronnie Hickman, Safety

Nov. 12, 2022; Columbus; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Ronnie Hickman (14) celebrates making the tackle for loss on Indiana Hoosiers tight end AJ Barner (not pictured) during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Prediction

No. 138 to the Indianapolis Colts (Fifth Round)

Why it Makes Sense

The Colts need to address the back end of the defense at some point and Hickman has some great attributes if in the right system. He could fall further than this, but someone is going to pull out the tape from 2021 and fall in love with the athleticism and ability to run to the ball he showed. Why not the Colts?


Tanner McCalister, Safety

Ohio State Buckeyes safety Tanner McCalister (15) practices during the spring football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on April 16, 2022. USA TODAY Sports

The Prediction

No. 228 to the Tennessee Titans (Seventh Round)

Why it Makes Sense

I’ll admit, this is a total stab in the dark. McCalister might go undrafted, but at this point in the draft, teams are going to look for value and underappreciated, steady players. The Ohio State safety doesn’t get enough credit for his athleticism and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. We like a team to take a flyer on him and Tennessee could go for depth at safety here.

Undrafted Free Agents

Nov. 12, 2022; Columbus; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Cameron Brown (26) celebrates a stop during the first half of the NCAA football game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Undrafted Free Agents Looking for Camp Invites

Cam Brown, Cornerback
Taron Vincent, Defensive Tackle
Jerron Cage, Defensive Tackle
Mitch Rossi, Running Back/Tight End
Noah Ruggles, Kicker
Bradley Robinson, Longsnapper
Palaie Gaoteote, Linebacker

Contact/Follow us @BuckeyesWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion. Follow Phil Harrison on Twitter.

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