2013 NFL Draft: Buckeye Prospectus

Written April 9th, 2013 by Eric
The greatest day in brainstorming.

The greatest day in brainstorming.

Friend of the BBC and draft aficionado Jeff joins us again to talk the NFL Draft. Jeff is a contributor on Indian’s Baseball Insider, has contributed NFL draft coverage on Sports Time Ohio, and can be found on twitter @jeffMLBdraft.

With about two weeks to go until the NFL draft, things are falling into place. The All Star games are done, the combine is long over, and pro days are all but done as well. Ohio State wrapped up their own Pro Day, so at this point things are pretty set in stone for the players.

The Pro Day was the last chance for a lot of these guys to show off what they could do, and prove to teams not only are they worth drafting but drafting high.  The downside to this is that the top showing at the Pro day and the only guy who seemed to turn heads was Troy Smith, who used the Pro Day as a chance to try and get back into the NFL. It’s been frankly a rough few months for the guys in grey, so let’s see where their stock is and where I think they end up going.

Jonathan Hankins

Johnathan Hankins terrorizes a California quarterback.

Johnathan Hankins

Jonathan Hankins is the star of this class. When he declared some people had him listed as a top ten pick and the second defensive tackle on the board behind Star Lotulelei. Since then others have rocketed up, and while Hankins hasn’t hurt himself he has still fallen. This is often a problem for underclassmen, they don’t get to participate in the all star games and this in turn can make them forgotten. The other issue is that while the talent is without a doubt there for Hankins to be a first rounder, the question following him is why he failed to produce and why he seemed to be a low effort player. When no one can see you play, the low effort and little production will hurt you.

Hankins has fallen from the number 2 defensive tackle to the 6-8 range, I myself have him as my 7th DT. He is looking to be a guy in the mid to late second round. His size, potential, and fall are very reminiscent of Jerel Worthy from MSU, who went to Green Bay in the middle of round 2. The upside to this might be Hankins can go to a team that can work with him where he won’t be pressed into service. Surround him with the right vets and coaches, and with his potential he could end up being a steal. He might be a target for San Francisco if he falls to late round 2, or maybe the Steelers in mid round 2. His ability to play the nose tackle in a 3-4 defense will get him looks by those teams in need of a road clogging nose tackle.

John Simon

John Simon

John Simon

If you could combine John Simon’s relentless play and toughness with Hankins natural skill and size, and you might have the top pick in this draft. The major problem with Simon is his size means he has no natural position in the NFL. He is too small to play on the line, and a bit slow to play standing up.  He ran an ok time at his pro day in the 40, but the ability to drop back and cover is still a big question. He  could develop but, basically Simon’s only position is at OLB in a 3-4 defense. He could be a great part of a rotation from day one, and a situational pass rusher.

Some team will draft him in the mid rounds and figure they get a solid backup will give it his all on special teams.  I think a very likely place for him to land is New England. They love to draft senior captains, and Belichick is close to Urban Meyer who in turn loved Simon. The other team to watch is the Steelers who need 3-4 depth on the outside, and have drafted a ton of Ohio State players over the years. He is a mid round pick, 3rd-to-5th round to me, but I would not be shocked to see him go late second.

Reid Fragel

Reid Fragel

Reid Fragel

Reid Fragel  is an interesting prospect and could be the first Ohio State player drafted this year. He is very new to the tackle position, and the fact that he was a tight end before the transition to tackle this year only helps his stock. He was over shadowed at the combine by bigger names and Lane Johnson’s crazy numbers. Yet Fragel really did boost his stock, he was top 5 in three drills and his bench press really stood out. He had 33 reps, which is fantastic, which showed he has the strength to play on the right side. He often showed a nasty streak and played through the whistle this season, which are things teams will look for in a right tackle. While he will start out on the right side, he could be developed for the left.

The only knock I heard on him this whole process was some teams were upset when he pulled out of the Senior Bowl late.  I know he had an injury but it’s a huge no no to pull out 48 hours before the Senior Bowl. It’s a sure way to annoy scouts, which is the last thing a player wants to do. At the end of the day I think Fragel will really intrigue teams, he has size, strength, and athleticism.  I am still shocked he hasn’t generated more buzz through this process. A lot of teams could use help on the line, and I think Fragel could end up going as high as round 2. The Lions lost both their tackles this offseason, and a guy like Fragel could be an ideal grab if he is on the board in round 3 or 4.

Jake Stoneburner

Jake Stoneburner

Jake Stoneburner

Jake Stoneburner is another guy who changed positions this year for the good of the team. He will move back to tight end on the professional level.  One of the concerns with Stoneburner is his relative lack of exposure in college.  It’s not an exaggeration when I say he caught more passes as a high school senior than he did in four years of college. He has good size, and solid speed for the position.  He showed solidly at the combine posting top 5 position scores in the 40 and both the 20 and 60 yard shuttle drills.  This speed shows that he could bring big play ability to the tight end position.  The NFL has changed and teams are always looking for that big play tight end.  This will lead to Stoneburner getting drafted in the 5th-to-7th round range. You would love to see more production, but the speed and size ratio will cause some team to call his name on draft day.

Zach Boren

Zach Boren

Zach Boren

I am sure Zach Boren will hear a lot of talk comparing him to Owen Marecic. They were both two way players who played middle linebacker and fullback, over course Marecic is nearly out of football so this is a comparison that  Boren does not want. I know a lot of places don’t see him as much a prospect because he is a fullback which is a dying position, but for those who think its unimportant go ask Adrian Peterson how happy he was that the Vikings brought back Jerome Felton this week. Boren is a solid lead blocker, and has displayed solid hands out of the backfield. He showed himself to be a completely selfless player, who will do what it takes to win, which is exactly what a team looks for in  special teams player. I also thought it was great that he showed he could long snap at the combine trying to show that he would do whatever it took to play in the NFL. I view him as a 5-7 rounder, who could go undrafted. No matter what I think he will make some squad and be a heck of s special teamer.   A team to watch for him might be his home state Cleveland Browns.  Norv Turner’s offense relays on a blocking back, and the Browns don’t have a fullback on roster. Maybe he could take the place of the disappointing Marecic.

Nathan Williams

Nathan Williams

Nathan Williams

Nathan Williams was a guy who I looked at last year before he got his medical red shirt. He excelled at the East West Shrine game and really helped to solidify his draft stock. He best fits to me as a outside line backer in a 34 scheme. He is still a late round guy I would put a 6-7 round grade on him. If he goes undrafted it will be because of his knee.  It will scare off some teams, and I am sure he is off the board of a few teams already.  The team that does draft him will get a solid back up  player. I am not sure he will ever be a starter, but he should help on special needs as long as his knee checks out.

Etienne Sabino

Etienne Sabino

Etienne Sabino

The last guy who stands a chance of being drafted is Etienne Sabino.  His athleticism might intrigue a few teams. He might work on the inside on a 34 or 43 team as more of a two down linebacker.  I think ideally he would play inside in a 34 alignment. He has a 7rd to undrafted grade for me, if he had done better at the combine he could have really nailed down being a pick. His calling card is athleticism, and while he showed well rounded skills he didn’t blow up the combine. There is upside in Sabino, but is that enough to get him drafted I doubt it. He should get a chance as a free agent,  though thanks to potential upside.

If there is one thing I know about the draft it is that we all know very little. For example, last season I did not know anyone who thought Nate Ebner would get drafted let alone be a 6th rounder.  The best news about this draft list is that it has only one underclassmen, that the majority of Buckeyes underclassman stayed in spite of being potential high picks – Roby might very well have gone top ten. This time next year I will hopefully be writing about their bright futures and how staying another year in Columbus helped them and their future.

1 Comment

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    April 9th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Very nice break-down and write-up, thank you, Jeff. It seems there are a few ‘tweeners here, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out for the guys. And, yes, you always have The Ebner Factor.

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