2021 Ohio State NFL Draft Prospects

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2021 Ohio State NFL Draft
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 30: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks for yards during a second quarter run in front of Kwity Paye #19 of the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

After a number of opt-outs, opt-ins, and everything in between, we have a full list of 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects. Last year, 10 of the 16 draft-eligible alumni heard their name called. This year, Ohio State sends a group of athletes who only experienced success. Four consecutive Big Ten Conference titles, two CFP appearances, and a perfect record against That Team Up North are only a few honors.

2021 Ohio State NFL Draft Prospects

In 2021, there are 14 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects. There is a legitimate chance that all 14 hear their name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Let’s see what each prospect brings to the table.

Justin Fields, Quarterback

There is an argument to be made that Justin Fields, in only two seasons, is the greatest Ohio State quarterback. Everyone knows the story: initially at Georgia, Fields was passed up in favor of Jake Fromm and transferred to Ohio State and never looked back. In those two seasons, Fields completed a ridiculous 68.4% of his passes. He threw for 5,373 yards and 63 touchdowns as compared to only nine interceptions.

Following a legendary 2019, there were legitimate talks of Fields overtaking Trevor Lawrence as the first-overall pick. Those talks have died down after he appeared human in 2020, but he’s still an elite quarterback prospect. He’s got the arm, the accuracy, the leadership, and the legs. He will need to work on standing in the pocket too long and fixating on his first read. Whoever selects Fields will have their quarterback of the future.

As of now, The Draft Network has Fields as QB2 and the third-overall prospect. It’s extremely likely that he is the first of the 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects to be drafted.

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Wyatt Davis, Guard

With the crazy uncertainty leading up to the season, Davis actually opted out of the season. Once the Big Ten announced they would actually play a fall season, Ohio State got their star guard back.

Even if he hadn’t played, Davis was considered to be a top interior lineman prospect. Considering his size (and he’s a big dude), Davis is impressively athletic. One of Davis’ strengths is his, well, strength. Up until his leg injury, Davis and Alabama’s monster defensive tackle Christian Barmore were locked into a legendary battle. On a few instances, including Master Teague‘s game-tying touchdown, he moved the line and paved the way.

Davis is so solid in his game that there isn’t one scheme or another that he fits better. He will succeed for whatever team selects him. Since he’s a guard and the NFL is inconsistent in valuing guard play, Davis could be a top-ten pick or he could fall to a playoff team. Where there were concerns regarding other Ohio State prospects (cough Billy Price cough), there are none with Davis.

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Tommy Togiai, Defensive Line

There are a few 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects whose stock skyrocketed after a strong year. Tommy Togiai is one of those prospects. If it weren’t for the long line of elite defensive linemen to come through Columbus, Togiai would have played right away. He awaited his time and absolutely broke out in 2020.

Initially, Togiai was known as a run-stuffer. By the end of the year, he developed into a more complete tackle and it was extremely difficult to take him off the field for a single snap. His absence was felt against Alabama. While one nose tackle would not have changed the outcome, it would not have hurt. Najee Harris was getting beat up already, imagine how he would have felt after getting hit by Togiai.

Right now, Togiai is the third-best ranked interior defensive lineman and is grading out to be a second-rounder. He’s got some serious strength to go with his explosiveness. It’ll be interesting to see what team selects him. At OSU, Togiai was a tackle in their 4-3 scheme, but he can be a nose in a 3-4.

Pete Werner, Linebacker

There are four linebacker prospects coming out of Ohio State this year. An interesting one is Pete Werner. He was a starter since his sophomore year and provided a spark on a defense that often lacked one.

At first glance, Werner looks like an NFL linebacker. His 6’3″, 242 lbs frame moves smoothly around the field. Realistically, he could develop into a T.J. Watt-like player. Not saying he’s a potential defensive player of the year, but he could be used as an outside pass rusher. He was used as a blitzer and he had quite the ability to fill all the gaps.

Werner will need to work on his coverage. He has a high motor, so he often reads the quarterback’s eyes and jumps on a route. That could get him into trouble against non-B1G teams (SEE: Trevor Lawrence). If he tests well at the Pro Day/Combine, Werner may find himself as a day two prospect. He’s an extremely athletic linebacker, so there will be an NFL team to take a chance on him.

Josh Myers, Center

There are seven top-100 prospects in this Buckeye class and Josh Myers is sitting at a nice 69th-overall, according to PFN. Outside of the quarterback position, it could be argued that center is the most important position on offense. They touch the ball every play and it all starts on them. Myers provided security for the last two years in front of Fields and will be yet another of the 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects to make the jump.

The second-rated center in this class, Myers is a massive body at 6’5″ and 312 lbs. His strength is run-blocking. As a center, he doesn’t need to be as athletic as a tackle, but he can still move. He will need to develop a bit more in pass blocking, however.

It’s just as likely that Myers slips to day three as it is that he is selected in round three. With not many centers declared, Myers will benefit. He won’t be the greatest center to ever play, but he will be a very solid starter.

Shaun Wade, Corner

Was there a prospect who lost more money than Shaun Wade? If he had stayed opted-out, Wade would likely have been the first corner selected. Now, he has fallen to almost day three territory.

Wade struggled mightily with the transition to outside corner. He was an elite slot corner, but was often out-matched outside and was on the wrong side of a few highlights. He has shown that he is an extremely athletic defender, he just did not thrive in Ohio State’s “bailout” defense (there are too many issues with this idea, but that’s for another time).

If a team moves him back inside, Wade will be a steal. If a team wants him to play on an island outside, he may not earn a second contract. He has all the tools and athleticism to be great, it will all depend on team fit.

Baron Browning, Linebacker

Touted as the “athletic linebacker” of these 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects, Baron Browning earned himself plenty of money in 2020. He is an athletic specimen and there is a very good chance that an NFL team falls in love with him.

Browning had a very strong Senior Bowl week and got the NFL world talking. As a high school recruit, he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash. It is very likely that he greatly improved on that. Imagine a 4.45 linebacker who is 6’3″ and 240 lbs of pure muscle coming downhill. Nasty.

He is always near the ball and rarely misses. To start, he will likely be a depth pick to serve in a rotation. Don’t be surprised if he finds himself playing more and more and eventually starting.

Jonathon Cooper, EDGE

For the first time in three years, Ohio State will not have a first-round EDGE prospect. Following behind guys like Nick Bosa and Chase Young, Jonathon Cooper developed into a solid player.

No matter what he does, Cooper will go down as a Buckeye legend. In 2019, Cooper had played in only three games leading up to the matchup with rival Michigan. He elected to play in that game and retain his redshirt rather than sit out for a potential CFP matchup.

As the inaugural “Block O” jersey recipient, Cooper has the leadership traits any NFL team would love. Additionally, he has shown impressive explosiveness. With even minimal development at the next level, Cooper’s floor can be a third-down pass-rush specialist.

Right now, he looks like a day-three prospect, but Cooper had a decent Senior Bowl, so he will likely rise up draft boards. If we have an early run of EDGE prospects, Cooper will be in the third-to-fifth round range.

Trey Sermon, Running Back

The second of the 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects who started off his career elsewhere, Trey Sermon finally found his footing at the right time. As a senior, Sermon broke off for 870 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. In only seven games (not counting the CFP Title Game, considering he was injured on the first play), and splitting time with Teague, that’s impressive.

He hurdled his way into the Buckeye record books and broke a 25-year-old single-game rushing record in the B1G Title Game with 331 yards and two scores. To that point, he had only rushed for 334 yards and one score. Add in his 193 yards and one touchdown in the CFP Semi-final, Sermon finished about as strong as he could.

He is an intriguing prospect. While he was not the most productive (not entirely his fault), he showed flashes of brilliance. At times, it looked like J.K. Dobbins was back out there. He made himself some serious money in 2020 and will likely serve as a back-up running back for a team with an established starter.

Justin Hilliard, Linebacker

After years and years of injury-riddled setbacks, Justin Hilliard finally showed what he could do in the Big Ten Championship Game. The sixth-year senior broke out in the biggest way and recorded nine tackles, two for loss, and an interception.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to say about his productivity. His 20 tackles and five for loss in 2020 were career highs. Again, he was oft-injured or just on special teams. Despite this, he is projected to be a day-three selection.

Hilliard has the talent to develop into a SAM linebacker and regular special teams contributor. Considering positional flexibility is a massive contributor to whether or not players play the 53-man roster, Hilliard is likely to have a moderate career.

Luke Farrell, Tight End

Of the 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects, Farrell is enigmatic. In four years at Ohio State, Farrell finished with only 380 yards and four touchdowns off of 34 receptions.

His role in the Ohio State offense was, essentially, that of an extra lineman. His strengths are within the run game. Even as just as tight end, Farrell was able to move edge rushers and linebackers alike. However, he has the ability to make a splash play in the passing game.

Farrell only played in four games in 2020, but showed up in a crucial way in the CFP Semi-final as he caught two passes for 11 yards and a touchdown.

Every year, there is a head-scratcher of a pick. In 2019, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Drew Sample in the second round despite minimal productivity. Although he is the 15th-ranked tight end and 261st overall, Farrell could be a diamond in the rough in the right system.

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Tuf Borland, Linebacker

Tuf Borland trended on Twitter for a few hours on January 11th…For whatever reason, the Ohio State coaches trusted him to cover Heisman Trophy-winner DeVonta Smith one-on-one. It went as well as you’d think.

As a middle linebacker, Borland is a gritty, tough run stopper. He showed that he can stuff any and all gaps. As a four-year starter, Borland established himself as the tone-setter. He’s a bonafide leader and will likely be drafted due to his intangibles.

With the best name in the draft, Borland will have to earn everything at the next level. Time will tell, but I think Tuf Borland will translate to a rotation guy who primarily plays in running situations.

Drue Chrisman, Punter

Is Drue Chrisman better at flipping bottles or flipping fields? Either way, he’s got a first-round grade!

Okay, maybe not, but he is still a phenomenal punter. Over the last two seasons, Chrisman has 3,253 yards punting for an average of 44.6 yards. As of the end of the 2019 season, he logged 72 punts inside the 20-yard-line. Plus, he has a 100% completion percentage as a passer…okay he’s one for one, but it was a massive swing of momentum!

It’s difficult to project punters to the NFL. But if there’s a team that needs a new punter, Chrisman is your man!

Blake Haubeil, Kicker

The final of the 2021 Ohio State NFL draft prospects is kicker Blake Haubeil. As is the case with Chrisman, it’s difficult to project specialists due to how fickle coaches seem to be with kickers.

In 146 tries, Haubeil never missed an extra point. Even if it is a “gimme” point, going 146 for 146 is impressive. Additionally, he was 28/35 in field goals. The highlight of his career was his career-long of 55 yards at the first-half buzzer at Michigan State in 2019. That season, he led the Big Ten with 86.7% of his kicks converting.

Again, with how fickle coaches are, Haubeil will likely be drafted extremely late or get an undrafted free agent invite. Haubeil has the leg to compete for a number of teams. His biggest question mark will be that injured groin.

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