NFL Draft Countdown

Which Ohio State Players Will Be Drafted In The 2023 NFL Draft?

It looked a bit dicey for a week, but the Ohio State Buckeyes are set to play Georgia just before 2022 comes to an end. As usual, the squad is loaded with four and five star recruits. Several Buckeyes will hear their name called on the first day or two of the draft, including these three probable first rounders.

Either way the playoffs go, many Ohio State football players will have plenty of success after this season as they head to the NFL Draft. In Ohio, you will be able to wager on the NFL Draft this year, and take advantage of these Ohio State Buckeyes getting drafted early and often. With that said, you don’t have to wait to bet on the Buckeyes.

It’s not too early to take advantage of Ohio sports betting promos as many sportsbooks are open for signup now ahead of the big day. Maybe the College Football semifinals will still be going on after midnight on New Years Eve.

Without further ado, a look at the Ohio State players that are set to be drafted this coming spring.

CJ Stroud

Stroud came into the season as a Heisman favorite and had a great season. Yet it somehow seems disappointing based on literally one tough half vs Michigan. That should not take anything away from what he accomplished this year nor did it ding his draft stock. ESPN’s Todd McShay has Stroud going fourth overall and as second QB in his mock draft. Star quarterbacks tend to get bumped up right to the top, so perhaps Stroud ends up drafted second or even first if the Texans, the likely top drafter, rate him better than Bryce Young.

At 6’3”, 218 lbs, Stroud is physically bigger than Young. He completed 66.2% of his passes this year for 3,340 yards, with 37 TD’s and six INTs. It was all good for a 176.2 QB rating, tops in the country. Stroud also had a QBR of 87.7 which placed third in FBS.

The scouting reports love Stroud as he combines good size and great athleticism. Here are a few quotes.

“Possess(es) an NFL level arm. Gets the ball from one hash to the opposite sideline in a hurry. Has the zip to hit tight windows on short and intermediate throws.”

“Great accuracy overall, including excellent accuracy on short timing routes to backs and receivers, placing the ball slightly in front to lead receivers to potential yardage after the catch.”

The knocks? Stroud has such great talent around him especially at wide receiver that it makes it look too easy at times.

Paris Johnson Jr

Johnson is a 6’6” Offensive Tackle. ESPN consensus ratings place him as the eighth best overall prospect expected to enter the 2023, and the second best tackle after Peter Skoronski of Northwestern. McShay has him going ninth in his latest mock draft.

He started at Guard at Ohio State then switched to Tackle in 2022. Every team in the NFL dreams of that quintessential Left Tackle that they can set to protect the QB’s blind spot for the next decade. Johnson is sure to generate interest along those lines though he actually grades modestly better as a run blocker. The scouts have this to say about his strengths.

“Johnson flashes power and nastiness in the run game, able to win at the point of attack and athletic enough to get out as a pulling blocker before landing blocks on the move at the second level.”

“Plays with appropriate wide base and intelligence, instincts and agility to seal the edge. Aggressive, extending with power to punch and looks comfortable in space.”

“Has a strong, flexible core, and the ability to absorb and anchor against the bull rush as a pass protector.”

On the “weakness side”? He needs to work a little on his balance and his height sometimes allows smaller defenders to get under his pads in short yardage.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba started 2022 with a game for the ages. He torched Utah in the Rose Bowl with 15 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns. All told, Smith-Njigba caught 95 passes for 1,606 yards and nine TD’s in the 2021 season despite sharing the wideout position with NFL 1st round draft picks Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, though neither of those two played in the Rose Bowl.

The sky was the limit in 2022 with Stroud back and Ohio State’s usual talent all around. Unfortunately Smith-Njigba hurt his knee on his first catch of the season and barely saw the field again. He played in parts of only three games and caught five passes total. He will not make it back for the playoffs and has in fact already declared for the 2023 NFL draft.

Smith-Njigba’s draft stock dropped a little, but not enormously much as he is expected to be fully healthy for training camp and the 2023 NFL season. All the ESPN draft gurus rank him as a top three Wide Receiver heading into the draft, with Mel Kiper placing him top of his board. McShay’s latest mock has him going 22nd overall

Here are some strengths as per the scouts

“Has a nice combination of speed and size and explosive acceleration”

“Has the strong hands any NFL wide receiver coach and quarterback would covet. Tracks the deep ball over either shoulder and brings in passes fluidly without breaking stride downfield.”

“Has a knack for getting open and is a quarterback’s best friend – passers just need to toss the ball in his area and he’ll come down with it.”

The big downside is his health, and he has occasional problems with dropped passes.

Three More Names

Defensive End/Edge Zach Harrison grades out as a second round pick. He is an athletic freak as he goes 6’6” 272 lbs and runs the 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He is expected to excel at the combine with those measurables and his strength, and he is very good on the football field as well. The modest knock that drops him into second round level is that he plays too tall and needs to improve on leverage.

Offensive Tackle Dawand Jones projects as a second to third round pick. He is an enormous human at 6’8” 359 lbs and can move and pass protect well enough to stick at Tackle in the NFL. He also has some leverage issues with his size and can use his hands a bit too much and his lower body not quite enough

Finally there’s Center Luke Wypler, projected as a third round pick. He goes 6’3” 300 lbs and can move well for a man his size. He’s especially strong getting out to the second level in the run game. He is not quite as adept at pass blocking and also not enormously strong as of yet for the position at the NFL level.

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