Will These 3 Players From DBU Be 1st Round NFL Picks?

Nov 5, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) returns the interception for the touchdown during the second half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker (24) returns the interception for the touchdown during the second half against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /
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A look at Ohio State defensive backs preparing for the NFL draft.

Ohio State is now recognized as DBU because of the number of defensive backs the Buckeyes have been sending to the NFL. This year’s group of defensive backs is off the chart as three players could be taken in the first round of the draft. Let’s take look at those players and their prospects entering the NFL Combine.

The  two cornerbacks, Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore, will be participating in the skills portion of the Combine. Malik Hooker won’t be able to participate due to rehabing from surgery, and will just be there for the off the field activities.

I’ll look at Hooker’s situation first. To see each player’s draft profile at NFL.com just click on their name.

Malik Hooker may actually benefit by not participating in the drills because he has little to prove by running a fast 40 or turning in a great shuttle time. The last impression scouts have of him is the athleticism he displayed on the football field for Ohio State. His seven interceptions with three of them returned for touchdowns will certainly still be on the minds of NFL general managers.

If the interviews go well, and he doesn’t pull a Vince Young on the Wonderlic Test, it appears Hooker will be a top 10 pick if he is successfully recovering from his surgeries by draft day. 

Marshon Lattimore has impressed those who create the draft profiles so much that basically he just has to keep from doing something that would mess up his draft status. Here is what one source told NFL.com as reported in Lattimore’s draft profile:

"SOURCES TELL US“I’ve studied the top cornerbacks coming out and he’s the best I’ve seen. He’s so athletic that he can just post up under the receiver’s chin and shadow him all over the field. And he’s tough, too. He’ll be one of the top cornerbacks pretty quickly.” — Pro personnel director for AFC team"

Lattimore is looking more and more like a top 10 pick. It’s hard to see him sliding past the middle of the first round unless something goes very wrong before draft day.

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Gareon Conley has the opportunity to be chosen in the first round with an excellent Combine. Most mock drafts have Conley as a second round pick but at least one has him moving up as of late.

Usually a cornerback is chosen in the first round because the team thinks he can eventually become a “cover corner”. A guy who can be put on an island and cover a receiver without safety help.

If Conley can prove he is fast enough to become a true cover corner, he could be chosen late in the first round. Something close to the 40 time of 4.4 Eli Apple put up at last year’s NFL Combine may do the trick.

Must Read: Right Player-Right Time for 2018 Ohio State Class

In any event, three more Buckeye defensive backs are about to be chosen in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, even if they aren’t all taken in the first. That just solidifies Ohio State’s reputation as DBU.