Ohio State has been one of the better college football programs over the course of the last decade. Every year, they produce countless NFL-caliber prospects and often have many players vying for early-round draft slots, and the 2021 NFL Draft is looking no different.
However, the 2021 NFL Draft process is looking different. There was no 2021 NFL Scouting Combine as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so NFL teams have had to focus more on pro days to see the best prospects from top programs in action. As a result, that means prospects have just one opportunity to prove themselves, albeit it at a player that they’re familiar with.
Ohio State players will have the chance to work out for NFL teams at their pro day on Tuesday, March 30. This year, there are fewer sure-fire top prospects at Ohio State, so the players involved are all jockeying for positioning, be it in the first round of the draft or beyond. There will be plenty of players to watch in action, including but not limited to QB Justin Fields, RB Trey Sermon, OL Wyatt Davis, and LB Baron Browning.
With the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine being canceled as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NFL teams have had few offseason chances to evaluate the top prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. That has made pro day workouts all the more important this year, as it represents the only chance for NFL teams to evaluate prospects based on their raw athletic testing numbers and performance in key practice drills.
Here’s how you can watch the top Buckeyes players in action and what to look for in Ohio State’s 2021 pro day:
When is Ohio State’s football pro day?
- Date: Tuesday, March 30
- Time: 6 p.m. ET
Ohio State’s pro day will take place on Tuesday night at 6 p.m., just ahead of prime time. The No. 1 player to watch will be QB Justin Fields, as he looks to cement himself as a potential top-10 pick. He’s jockeying for draft positioning with Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and is likely in the mix for the No. 3 pick that is now held by the San Francisco 49ers.
How to watch Ohio State pro day workouts
The NFL Network is continuing to provide coverage of notable NFL pro days in the lead up to the 2021 NFL Draft. That will include the Ohio State pro day. Their coverage will come via a “Path to the Draft Pro Day Special”, and former NFL scouts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks will provide analysis of each player’s performance during the event. They’ll also have draft stock updates on all the players, and it will be particularly interesting to see how they view Fields’ stock after the San Francisco 49ers traded up in the draft.
What to watch from Ohio State’s pro day
Obviously, Justin Fields will be the top player to watch for Ohio State. As mentioned, he’s in a fiercely contested battle to be one of the top three quarterbacks off the board, and he will be looking to put on a show at his pro day to set his stock ablaze again. After throwing for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns, and just six interceptions in eight games last year, many thought he was a top-10 lock, and his gutty performance against Clemson, when he threw for six touchdowns and played through a chest injury, backed that up.
On Tuesday, Fields will be looking to show off his athleticism, his ability to throw on the move, and his strong arm. He has more experience than his competition for the No. 3 quarterback position, so he’ll want to show off good mechanics and downfield accuracy. If he can do that, he should be able to cement himself as a more pro-ready option than the raw Lance. And if he can flash arm strength and great athletic ability and movement skills, he’ll have a shot at overtaking Jones, who is the worst athlete of the top-five quarterbacks in this class.
Outside of Fields, there are plenty of other prospects to watch. Trey Sermon averaged nearly 110 rushing yards per game for Ohio State and could be a starting running back at the next level. Sermon will be focused on showcasing his smooth power running style and strength on the bench press. The faster he can run, the better, but he’s not the fastest back in the world, so looking good in the on-field work will be the most important for him.
Elsewhere, Wyatt Davis and Baron Browning will look to prove that they belong as top-50 players. Davis is a strong interior offensive lineman that could be an early second-round pick because of his size and strength. His measurements will be important and so will his movement skills and 40-yard dash time. He won’t run fast, but if he can exceed expectations in that area, that will give NFL coaches hope that he can be a better pass blocker than he was at Ohio State.
As for Browning, he is a great athlete, so he figures to test very well. He could be fun for fans to watch in drills because of his combination of speed and instincts. With a good performance, he should solidify his status as a potential Round 2 pick.
Unfortunately, CB Shaun Wade, once thought to be a potential first-round option and top corner in this class, won’t be working out on Tuesday. He’s dealing with a turf toe injury, so he’ll hold a workout on April 14 instead.
NFL mock draft for Ohio State players
Sporting News’ latest NFL mock draft projects that only one Ohio State Buckeye will go in the first round, according to Vinnie Iyer. That would be Justin Fields, who Iyer has the Carolina Panthers taking with the No. 8 overall selection.
If Fields is the only Ohio State player to go in Round 1, that would mark the fewest Buckeye players selected in the opening frame since 2015, when zero went in the top 32 picks.