The Ohio State football program had a ton of players decide to come back for the 2024 season for one reason or another. Perhaps they don't want to leave Ohio State without a pair of gold pants. Maybe they want to win a national title. Some probably want to increase their draft stock further.
Still, there are some Buckeyes who decided to move on to the NFL and some who had no other choice. The Buckeyes had some players attend the Senior Bowl. Those there were trying to rise their draft stock. Now that it's all over, we'll give you where we think each player will land.
There is only one Ohio State football player going in the first round this year and that is Marvin Harrison Jr. He's a freak of nature and is going to be a top-five pick. I'd say his stock hasn't risen or fallen since leaving Ohio State, although he didn't attend the Senior Bowl.
My guess is that he ends up going fourth overall to the Cardinals. The top three teams in the Draft all need quarterbacks, so Harrison Jr. should be the first non-quarterback drafted. He's atop most draft analysts' Big Board as the top overall prospect, but it's a quarterback-driven league.
One player whose stock got pushed way up during the Senior Bowl was Mike Hall. He was voted the best defensive tackle at the Senior Bowl by opposing offensive linemen. Because of that strong performance, I could see him vaulting all the way up into the late second round.
Cade Stover is a very good receiving tight end and that's what most tight ends are asked to do in the NFL now. Most of them aren't required to be stellar blockers. That's good news because Stover was an awful blocker for the Buckeyes in his career.
Still, his receiving skills and his speed at the position make him a good pass-catcher for a team that needs a tight end. I could see him going in the third round of the Draft and could be a steal for a team that takes him later in that round. If he improves at all as a blocker, he could have a long NFL career ahead of him.
This is where the number of Buckeyes starts to increase. First, let's start with Tommy Eichenberg. Eichenberg's stock was probably higher last year had he come out. He probably could have gone as high as the second round. This year, things were tougher for him.
Eichenberg's covering skills are a major problem in a pass-happy NFL. He also got exposed taking some bad angles on running backs. Still, he doesn't miss many tackles and generally has good instincts. He's going to be a fine NFL player.
Miyan Williams was the best back on the Ohio State football team in 2022 when TreVeyon Henderson was hurt. The problem for Williams this year is that he was thrust back into a backup role this year and he also couldn't shake injuries. He ended up being lost for the year late in the season due to injury.
Running back is not a valued position in the NFL. I could see Williams being taken late in the fourth round as someone who can help with depth at that position. I don't think he'll ever be a starter at the next level, but he could be a solid backup.
I see a lot more Buckeyes getting drafted on day three. Josh Proctor had a solid senior season with the Buckeyes after not doing much for his previous five years. But Proctor had a solid Senior Bowl and could get taken as high as the fifth round. He's a good special teams player too.
I like Steele Chambers a lot. He changed positions from running back to linebacker when the Ohio State football team had depth issues at the position. He worked hard to become the best linebacker the Buckeyes had a couple of years ago. He's got a great work ethic.
Unfortunately for Chambers, he just doesn't have the experience at the position that others do. His 2023 season wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. He didn't stand out enough to make it out of day three of the Draft. The sixth round seems right for him.
Matt Jones didn't have a strong finish to his Ohio State career. He was battling injuries (again) and couldn't make the strides scouts wanted to see in his sixth year of college. Jones might try to play center at the next level so the Combine will be important for him. His Senior Bowl experience wasn't super great either.
Xavier Johnson was one of the most under-appreciated Buckeyes in recent years. He stepped up big time when JSN got hurt in the 2022 opener against Notre Dame and even scored a touchdown. While his stats weren't gaudy in his Ohio State football career, he was a very versatile player.
Johnson will likely go undrafted but has a shot to go late in the seventh round because of his special teams play. He was an excellent special teams player every year he was with the Buckeyes and is a great teammate. That alone gives him a shot to be drafted.
The Draft isn't for another couple of months and all of these guys will have a shot at the Combine to raise their stock even further. It'll be fun following these guys' career in the NFL.