8 Buckeyes, 2 local prep products invited to NFL Scouting Combine

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Eight Ohio State football players have been invited to the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

Quarterback C.J. Stroud headlines a group that also includes a pair of defensive backs, three offensive linemen, a receiver and a defensive lineman.

Stroud figures to be in the discussion to be the first quarterback drafted, while Paris Johnson Jr. will be looking to make his case to be the first offensive tackle picked.

Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba also figures to be among the most-talked-about prospects after missed most of last season with a hamstring injury.

Joining them in Indianapolis for an event scheduled for Feb. 28-March 6 will be offensive linemen Dawand Jones and Luke Wypler, defensive lineman Zach Harrison, cornerback Cam Brown and safety Ronnie Hickman.

A pair of local high school grads are also on the invite list: Tavion Thomas of Dunbar and Leonard Taylor of Springfield.

Thomas was among the best running backs in the Pac-12 the past two seasons at Utah while Taylor was a major contributor at tight end for the University of Cincinnati.

Taylor is one of six Bearcats to be invited, joining star linebacker Ivan Pace Jr., fellow tight end Josh Whyle, receivers Tre Tucker and Tyler Scott and defensive back Arquon Bush.

Here is more on each Buckeye and local prospect headed to Indy:

Stroud: Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network projected the Panthers to make Stroud the No. 9 overall pick and third quarterback drafted in his first mock draft of the year. Alabama’s Bryce Young and Will Levis of Kentucky are also in the mix to be the first QB taken.

Johnson: Jeremiah pegged the three-and-done former five-star prospect from Cincinnati as the No. 11 pick to the Tennessee Titans, four spots after fellow left tackle Peter Skoronski of Northwestern. He figures to test off the charts and impress in interviews.

Smith-Njigba: He was considered one of the top WR prospects in this draft last summer, but a lack of playing time last season could cost him. The combine offers the Texas native a chance to ease injury fears and display how much of his talent is tangible.

Jones: Big fella turned heads at the Senior Bowl and figures to do so again in his hometown of Indianapolis, where teams will get to measure the former basketball standout’s athleticism and agility. He could be a riser in the draft process.

Wypler: A surprising addition to Ohio State’s early-entry list, the Buckeyes’ center is Pro Football Focus’ No. 94 overall prospect.

Harrison: Not the flashy playmaker Chase Young or the Bosas were, central Ohio native turned in a strong senior season somewhat under the radar while adjusting to new role in defense. He is ranked 62nd overall by PFF and could project as a Cam Heyward type in the NFL.

Brown: Productive when healthy but endured ups and downs after deciding to come back for senior season. Another player with upward mobility if he can impress in workouts.

Hickman: Very productive in-the-box defender in 2021 but looked less comfortable at deep safety in Ohio State’s new defense last season. Ranked 10th among safeties by PFF and 105th overall.

Thomas: Weighed in at 247 pounds (nine more than on Utah roster last season) at the East-West Shrine Game but still garnered some good vibes from people covering the game.

Taylor: May have a hard time standing out in deep tight end draft, but Taylor has the measurables to make it at next level. Strong workouts could propel him up draft boards.

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