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Buckeye Football Draft Notebook: 'The sky is the limit and he is just scratching the surface'
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — The 2016 NFL Draft will kick off on Thursday night at 8:00 pm. The first round will take place on Thursday, with rounds two and three happening on Friday, and then the final four rounds taking place on Saturday.

Five Buckeyes have been invited to attend the first round of the draft, which ties the record set by Alabama in 2012. So obviously the NFL likes these players, but they still have questions. What kind of questions are the scouts and coaches and GMs asking?

"A lot of the questions are about practice," Urban Meyer said. "Are they pros? Do they handle their business? The CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) came out, there is so much time on their own. Are they serious about training on their own? From what I understand, there are months where you can’t have contact with your coaches or certainly go there and lift weights. That is the number one question that I get."

"I don’t think there’s a lot of surprising questions," said cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs. "I do think what they’re asking you are the things they can’t see on film. They want to know about their work ethic, they want to know about their promptness. They want to know about what they do when nobody else is around. How much time do they put into the craft of becoming a great defensive back. And those are things that are going to make a difference for them at the next level that they can’t see when they come to practice or go to a game or watch film.

The Buckeyes are losing starters Tyvis Powell, Vonn Bell and Eli Apple to the NFL out of the secondary, with Apple a likely first rounder and Bell a possible first rounder. Obviously, the NFL wanted to know how self-motivated Apple and Bell are as well.

"Those are things that those two kids have excelled at here," Coombs said. "Both Vonn and Eli are tremendous in their preparation for games and their preparation for their particular skill sets, and they’ve been developed players here, which I think is also important. NFL guys want to know how did they develop? What was the process like for them? Because it’s different in both cases. And so those are things that are the behind-the-scenes questions that they can’t see watching film."

When it comes to questions about linebackers Darron Lee and Joshua Perry, many of them were in regard to their on-field play. For Lee, NFL personnel wanted to know if he could hold up in the box, since he played so much in the slot at Ohio State.

"I think obviously Darron, the sky is the limit and he is just scratching the surface," Luke Fickell said. "And there are some questions, they don't see him play inside the box, and they ask that. I say we are here to win games at The Ohio State University and the best thing for us was to put him out there to eliminate the field. And Darron understood that and Darron was very successful and made us very successful. If he had an opportunity to come back, I would say that he could possibly be inside the box and he might make 100 more tackles.

"They see the instincts, they see those things, they know he can play the game of football. He is intelligent, he understands concepts and schemes and he will have no problem. The other thing is, I think when they look at him, they are going to realize we are talking about a guy that is going to be a 235, 240-pound guy legitimately. The things they were always worried about (Ryan) Shazier was he was so fast and so high metabolism; I don't know if the guy is ever going to be able to hold anything more than 225 (pounds). So I think that is the big upside."

And what kind of questions do they have about Perry?

"Joshua, man it is all over the place," he said. "He can do so many things. To be honest with you, same question guys ask us, is he an outside linebacker type of guy? I said, 'Yeah probably, but for us at The Ohio State University to win games and to be the best for us, he played Will.' He understands in the game of football that he can project at a lot of different things, he has an incredible skill set, he is going to be very valuable to guys, especially coming from a program and the belief of the big system."

Read more on Page 2: More on Joshua Perry, the Draft as a recruiting tool, Kerry Coombs in Chicago and Adolphus Washington's draw for NFL teams.

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