A Look at the 2022 Ohio State NFL Draft Prospects

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2022 Ohio State NFL Draft Prospects
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 27: Garrett Wilson #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates his touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines with teammate Chris Olave #2 during the second quarter at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

The 2022 Ohio State NFL Draft prospects left it all on the field for the Buckeyes throughout their respective careers. Every year, Ohio State sends a strong handful of prospects to the next level to continue their athletic dominance. This 2022 group looks to be just as good. From career record setters to a guy who is lucky to be alive, this class of Buckeyes looks to be able to make their Alma Mater proud.

Reviewing the 2022 Ohio State NFL Draft Prospects

Chris Olave, Wide Receiver

Thus far, it seems plenty of draft experts haven’t quite decided on which great Buckeye receiver will be drafted first. These two have very different expectations heading into college and neither will be forgotten. You can always bet on who will be WR1 with a betwinner promo code and make a little cash while you watch the draft.

Coming to Ohio State, Olave was a three-star recruit that wasn’t even on Ryan Day’s radar until he saw him ball out when recruiting future Indiana quarterback, Jack Tuttle. He burst onto the scene as a freshman during a breakout game against Michigan and never looked back. He finished with 2,702 yards and an Ohio State-record 35 touchdowns.

Olave’s route-running is elite. He’s able to battle through contact and has impeccable body control that allows him to make any and every play needed. His ability to get open on any given play has contributed to massive play after massive play. Even on simple slant or fade concepts, Olave can create separation that any NFL quarterback is going to feast on.

He will hear his name called early. It’s quite possible he’s a top-ten pick and won’t have to leave the state.

Garrett Wilson, Wide Receiver

The first of the elite-receivers-to-Ohio-State trend that Buckeye fans have come to love, Garrett Wilson proved from the onset that he was well worth the hype. In his time at Ohio State, it seemed like every time Garrett touched the ball, it could go all the way.

In 2021, Wilson ended his Ohio State career as strong as one could, turning 27 receptions into 371 yards and six touchdowns in his final three games. Across his three years, Garrett averaged 15.5 yards per reception.

As a prospect, there’s been plenty of discourse. Some have him as WR1, others believe his play-making ability is just because he’s an athlete and there are five or six more polished wideouts ahead of him. Regardless, there’s a team picking in the first round that will be high-fiving when they call Wilson’s name.

Wilson is extremely athletic and can take any touch to the house. His route-running improved over the years but he will need to continue to polish it. One thing that was immediately evident when watching him is that Wilson catches the ball away from his body. His ability to high-point and position his body in a way that only he can make the catch will have NFL teams looking to draw up plays specifically for him.

These first two 2022 Ohio State NFL Draft prospects have long been considered near sure-things. Just wait until next year when the guy these two said was the best declares…

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Jeremy Ruckert, Tight End

If there was an award for “Most-Talented-Least-Used,” Ruckert would win unanimously. He was recruited as an elite receiving tight end and showed flashes of that talent, but Ohio State’s offense does not prioritize tight ends.  He will be quite difficult to project, though his testing and combine numbers will provide clarity.

Across his career, Ruckert only caught 54 passes for 615 yards and 12 touchdowns. None were more impressive than his one-handed grab in the 2019 B1G Championship, sparking a massive comeback. His highest single-game receiving mark was 57 yards coming this year against Penn State.

Ruckert, in the limited route tree and opportunity, showed that he has sure hands and can make athletic plays. He has great hand strength and can pull down contested balls. As a blocker, which was how he spent most of his time, Ruckert is tough, tenacious, and can bury defenders.

Many experts are concerned and scared off by his lack of production. There is an elite tight end in the NFL today whose college stats were 48 receptions for 737 yards and 10 touchdowns. Now, is Jeremy Ruckert going to be George Kittle? The team that selects him surely hopes so, but it goes to show that if you’re a freak athlete, a team will make it work.

Nicholas Petit-Frere, Tackle

From the two blue-chip prospects to the middle-round guys there is a large gap. Petit-Frere, as has been the case for many who come to Ohio State, was highly-rated and recruited out of high school. He was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes and was tasked with playing both right and left tackle in his time.

Despite having a very solid career as a Buckeye, Ohio State (and, of course, Michigan fans) will never forget him getting absolutely bodied by Aidan Hutchinson on a few ugly reps. Overall, his game wasn’t bad, it’s just that his mistakes were almost always taken advantage of by Michigan.

Petit-Frere is a strong blocker in both the passing and rushing attacks. In his pass block sets, he’s able to get into his sets quickly and overpower rushers. In the run game, he’s been able to power through defenders, especially on the backside of zone concepts. He will have to improve his footwork and the routes he takes when pulling and sealing as it gets a bit choppy and inconsistent.

He’s not a generational talent and he’s likely not going to be a team’s first choice to protect their quarterback’s blind spot. Petit-Frere will likely be a day three choice, but he has the tools to be able to compete for a starting right tackle spot if the situation is right.

Haskell Garrett, Defensive Tackle

If you are not a fan of Ohio State, either you didn’t know Garrett was shot in the face before the 2020 season attempting to break up a fight or you are tired of hearing about it. Regardless, it’s a miracle that Garrett is alive let alone about to get drafted into the NFL.

The highlight of Garrett’s career (outside of surviving the gunshot and playing) was his “Thicc Six” against Michigan State. He was a force inside and was versatile enough to play both 3T and 1T.

In the NFL, he will primarily be a 3T. Garrett has innate quickness off the ball and is able to get a winning first step against interior linemen. Against B1G linemen, which have a history of getting to the NFL, Garrett found plenty of success in hand-fighting and getting around double-teams.

Garrett is not currently projected as a day one starter but he will be a priority for plenty of teams once day three rolls around. He will be a rotational piece but one with high-upside who will be able to be developed into a guy that a team can depend on.

Tyreke Smith, EDGE

It wouldn’t be a 2022 Ohio State NFL Draft prospect list without an EDGE rusher, would it? While Smith isn’t on the level of the Bosas or Chase Young, he proved his worth in his time in Columbus. His best years were his sophomore and senior years where he posted five tackles for loss and three sacks in each.

Versatility will be his call to fame. Experts are all over the place on Smith. Some have him in the third round, others as late as the sixth. It all depends on scheme fit. In a normal 4-3 defense, Smith will fit in just fine as a depth piece. As some teams employ the 3-4, Smith would need to bulk up a bit and be able to play as a 5T.

He is quick off the snap and can still manage to make plays even if he cannot shed blockers. Smith will turn into a reliable depth piece who will fill in on obvious passing situations.

Thayer Munford, Guard

A four-year starter and born-and-bred Buckeye from Ohio, Thayer Munford leaves Ohio State decorated and tested. For his first three years, Munford was the anchor at guard. In 2021, however, the offensive staff decided to just choose the five best offensive linemen and figure out positions later. Hence, Munford was kicked inside to guard.

His versatility is a plus but NFL teams will be adding him as a guard. He excels at pass protection against tight defenders. Some players can’t work well within a box but not Munford. He establishes himself first and is able to get control of defenders early.

As of now, Munford is solidified as a day-three prospect, but he is a high-end developmental piece. Barring injury or just downright awful play from the starter, Munford shouldn’t see playing time as a rookie. If he can get into the right system and work with an offensive line coach who can develop him, he can turn into a very good, very cheap option for a team looking to bolster the trenches.

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Master Teague, Running Back

Finally, the last likely 2022 Ohio State NFL Draft prospect who should hear their name called is Master Teague, a running back near and dear to many Buckeye fans’ hearts.

His first year with significant playing time was his redshirt freshman year in 2019 where he ran for 789 yards and four touchdowns backing up J.K. Dobbins. In 2020, he and Trey Sermon had this odd one-two punch where neither could really get anything going. In 2021, he saw his starting job usurped by both Miyan Williams and TreVeyon Henderson.

Teague is not an elite, three-down running back. Even at Ohio State, he had his limitations and defenses could pick up when they were going to run the ball. Teague will make his money as the physical, change-of-pace running back. His strength and ability to run defenders over will be used in short-yardage situations. Will this be enough for a team to use a late pick on him in today’s NFL? That is to be seen.

Likely UDFA Prospects

Demario McCall, Corner/Running Back/Wide Receiver
Antwuan Jackson, Defensive Tackle
Marcus Williamson, Safety (sure, he kind of renounced Ohio State during his Rose Bowl Twitter tirade, but he counts)

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