As is the case almost every year, Ohio State enters the season with the largest quantity of pro-prospects in the Big Ten.  Unlike most seasons, their top next level comes from the senior class this year.  With plenty of NFL talent on both sides of the ball we’ll start on the lines of scrimmage and move back.

Junior tackle JB Shugarts is a solid underclassmen prospect with nice size and strength.  Shugarts quickly gets off the line into blocks, works hard until the whistle blows and gets movement run blocking.   He blocks with solid knee bend, stays square and keeps opponents from the action.  Shugarts is on the ground too much and must improve his blocking balance but there’s a lot to like about his game.

Though he mans the guard position on the Buckeyes line, we project Justin Boren at center, remembering his play back from his Michigan days.  Boren is a smart blocker that always looks for someone to block.   He controls opponents once engaged the point of attack, keeps his feet moving throughout the action and is effective in space.  Boren is a terrific zone blocking prospect and someone we think has top 100 potential for next April’s draft.

Junior center Mike Brewster is an explosive blocker on the pivot and another offensive lineman effective in motion.  He explodes into blocks, plays with good knee bend and gets leverage on opponents.   Brewster attacks blocking assignments and also plays a smart brand of football.  He lacks the dominant lower body strength and will be pushed back off the line, something which should be corrected in time.

Mike Adams, another junior, is a terrific athlete at the tackle spot yet a raw prospect who needs more game time.  Adams moves well on his feet, shows the ability to adjust and blocks with good knee bend.  He tends to over extend into blocks losing balance.  Still, he’s a prospect with upside and someone to watch closely.

Bryant Browning is somewhat of an underrated lineman in our opinion.  He moves very well on his feet, shows terrific quickness in his game and is explosive at the point.   He really does not have the strength to finish blocks yet shows skill in motion.

Brandon Saine could be the sleeper of the running back class if the light goes on.  He shows terrific strength carrying the ball and consistently picks up yardage off initial contact.  His running vision is more than adequate and Saine is also effective as a blocker.  He’s also a terrific pass catcher out of the backfield. So why isn’t he rated higher?  Saine has been labeled “soft” by those intimate with the OSU program and a player that’s never lived up to expectations. He’s a prospect that could surprise people and move up draft boards if he steps up his play in 2010 or could wallow in the late rounds of the ’11 NFL Draft if he does not lose the “soft” tag placed on him.

For all the notoriety he receives we do not think highly of quarterback Terrelle Pryor as an NFL prospect.  He’s a terrific athlete with an NFL arm.  He makes plays with his legs if nothing is available through the air.  He powers the ball into targets or easily drives passes downfield.  Pryor also loses nothing throwing on the move.  Yet Pryor is more athlete than quarterback to this point, more thrower than passer.  His mechanics are inconsistent, his field vision is less than adequate and Pryor’s pass placement is poor.  Pryor offers better physical skills when compared to Tim Tebow yet at the same time has a fraction of the intangibles and leadership ability of the former Gator.

DeVier Posey is a nice sized receiver that goes up in a crowd to make the reception and fights to come away with the ball.  He gives effort blocking down the field and shows awareness in his overall game.  Posey lacks the deep speed and does not always show naturally soft hands, often times dropping some very catchable throws.

Dane Sanzenbacher is another tough receiver with reliable hands but poor speed.  Sanzenbacher does a nice job reading the defense and finding the open spot on the field.  He extends and exposes himself to the big hit in order to come away with the reception but lacks the physical skills to be anything other than a fifth wide out at the next level.

In our minds Cameron Heyward is slowly growing into a complete defensive lineman and will be a hot commodity next April.  Athletic, he displays agility, redirects off blocks and gets a lot of force going up the field or off the edge.   Heyward possesses solid first step quickness, plays with good lean and has an overpowering style.  He must improve his hand technique and Heyward is not the type of lineman that shows ability pursuing the action laterally.  His size, strength and versatility will have a number of conventional defenses as well as 3-4 alignments closely monitoring him this season.

Dexter Larimore is a quick, explosive lineman who works hard yet a marginal athlete with limited upside.  He could back up for a team that employs him as a   plugger/straight-line defender on the front four.

The Buckeys offer a number of terrific prospects in the back seven and there’s bound to be debate about their linebackers.

Opinions of Ross Homan are high in the scouting community.  People we’ve spoken with compare him to James Laurinaitis and our own Brent Sobleski feels Homan has been the top player on the OSU defense for a number of seasons.  Overall there is some concern about his athleticism and upside potential.  Expect Homan to have a terrific senior campaign in ’10 yet at the same time expect his final draft grade to depend the workouts next March.

On the other hand Tony Pauline is a huge fan of Brian Rolle.

The undersized linebacker has the athleticism his teammate does not possess and really presents himself as a three down defender.  Rolle is fast and fluid moving in reverse and gets terrific depth on pass drops.  Showing speed in every direction of the field, Rolle stands out in pursuit and sacrifices his body in order to make the tackle.   Still, as Brent Sobleski pointed out in our podcast of July 26th, Rolle’s limited size (5’10’’/220lbs) will have teams looking away from him next April.

Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa was someone who gave serious thought to entering the 2010 draft but ultimately decided to return to OSU for his senior season, which was the best choice.   Chekwa displays a burst of speed running downfield opponents,   effectively positions himself against receivers to defend the throw yet also works hard to defend the run.  He displays solid footwork in reverse, is very quick flipping his hips and has a good burst out of his plant.   Chekwa is also marginally instinctive and slow to find the ball in the air.  He really stood out to us in 2008 yet did not elevate him game as a senior.  He possesses the skills to be a top rated corner if he takes it to the next level.

Devon Torrence is not as accomplished as Chekwa but has better size and has shown some development recently.  Torrence displays solid footwork pedaling in reverse, is quick in his hips and physically beats down opponents to defend the throw.  He’s very quick to leave his backpedal and shows a lot of hesitation in his game. Torrence offers a nice upside yet must really refine his game.

Ohio State Pro-Prospects

Round Full Name Pos Number Year
1st Cameron Heyward DE 97 4Sr
2-3 Chimdi Chekwa CB 5 5Sr
2-3 Ross Homan ILB 51 5Sr
3rd Brian Rolle ILB 36 4Sr
3rd JB Shugarts T 76 3Jr
3rd Justin Boren C 65 5Sr
4th Mike Brewster C 50 3Jr
4-5 Terrelle Pryor QB 2 3Jr
4th Brandon Saine RB 3 4Sr
4th Devon Torrence CB 10 4Sr
5th Mike Adams T 75 3Jr
6th DeVier Posey WR 8 3Jr
7th Jermale Hines S 7 4Sr
FA Bryant Browning G 70 5Sr
FA Dane Sanzenbacher WR 12 4Sr
FA Dexter Larimore DT 72 5Sr
FA Andy Miller T 55 5Sr

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