After Ohio State announced this week that All-American Nick Bosa was leaving the Buckeyes in order “to devote more time to his rehabilitation and training efforts” for the upcoming NFL Draft, many seemed to either understand or dislike that he would not return after suffering a core muscle injury against TCU earlier this season without much in between.
Ultimately, as many of his now-former teammates have said throughout the week, Bosa made the best decision for his future based on his current condition and likely felt that he could not risk re-aggravating the injury or possibly suffering another setback.
Prior to the season, many experts projected Bosa as a top-3 pick next April — if not the first No. 1 overall pick for Ohio State since Orlando Pace in 1997. Now that he will have time to truly get healthy and his body right, it would almost be shocking to not hear Roger Goodell call his name first six months from now in Nashville.
With that said, who are other Buckeyes with eligibility left who could declare for the NFL Draft after the season along with Bosa? I took a closer look at five (four) possible guys.
1. DE Nick Bosa
As stated above, Bosa will absolutely be a top pick next April and is going to make whatever team he ends up with extremely happy. During his stint in Columbus, the Florida native racked up 77 total tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks and one glorious touchdown against Oregon State this season. In case one Bosa in the NFL wasn’t enough, just wait for No. 2.
2. DT Dre’Mont Jones
In recent years, the Ohio State defensive line has produced some of the most dynamic defensive players in the country. And with that, talent will be lost due to guys leaving early for the draft. Well, along with Bosa, you can almost certainly add Dre’Mont Jones to that list for this year.
Alongside his Rushmen counterparts, Jones is a dominant force that blows up plays with his athleticism and power. However, since losing Bosa against TCU, Jones has continued to do all of that — and even more. Through seven games this season, Jones has recorded 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks already, along with an interception against the Horned Frogs — which he, of course, took to the house.
Jones has played a huge role for Larry Johnson’s unit since coming to Ohio State as a freshman. Don’t be shocked to see his name come off the board in the first round in April.
3. QB Dwayne Haskins
We now move to the offensive side of the ball for the Buckeyes, and like the other two I’m sure, this one comes as no surprise to see.
After a few glimpses last season, including coming in for an injured J.T. Barrett against Michigan, many people had high hopes for Dwayne Haskins coming into this season. But if you told me at the end of the USC game last year that he would have this type of season in his first seven starts, I probably wouldn’t have believed it — especially after the career numbers Barrett left behind. Well, I along with many others, would’ve been way off.
At the end of the day, Haskins is one of the greatest — if not the greatest — quarterback to ever go through the Ohio State program. By January 1, 2019, he will own a handful of records, a possible Big Ten Championship and maybe a Heisman Trophy. Three months later, he’ll likely be a top-15 pick and heading to the NFL.
4. RB Mike Weber
Here is where I start to be unsure about if a guy will declare or not. Do I believe Mike Weber is an NFL talent and can succeed? Absolutely. Now, in my opinion, the question is not if he’s good enough, but rather when he will leave. After three seasons in Columbus, Weber has rushed for over 2,000 yards, 23 total touchdowns and is half of one of the most feared offensive backfield duos in recent memory.
I would not be shocked by either decision Weber makes, and believe there is not a wrong one for him. In terms of possible draft position, I don’t think teams will see him as a first-round talent because of nagging injuries and such, but as more of a second or third round guy that can make an impact.
Either way, someone is going to be happy to have the Michigan native on their football team, whether it’s the Buckeyes or a NFL franchise. (But most likely NFL.)
5. WR K.J. Hill
I personally am very excited to watch all of the players on this list play and excel in the NFL, but there is something about K.J. Hill that makes me feel like he’s going to be an absolute steal for a team whenever he decides to leave Ohio State.
Hill may only have four touchdowns this season, but he also is second on the team in receptions with 40 and has proven this season that when the Buckeyes need a big catch, he is their go-to guy. He is not the biggest on the team or the fastest, but I think he easily has the best hands and ball skills of anyone in an incredible receiver room.
So when the season ends, don’t be surprised to see Hill leaving Ohio State for the next step in his career. And if he does, you’d better hope that your team is smart enough to pick him up with a later pick in the draft.