Established October 31, 1996
Advertisements Disabled
Advertisements Disabled

More Football

Ozone Links
Who's Staying, Who's Going: Looking at OSU's Underclassmen with NFL Decisions
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS — Even though the 2016 NFL Draft isn't until the end of April, any underclassmen with designs on entering the Draft will have to declare by January 15.

As such, any Buckeyes who are thinking about leaving early will have two weeks after their final game to make that decision this year, and there are a number of them with some thinking to do.

I have gone ahead and listed the Buckeye underclassmen whose names have come up the most when this subject is talked about, and have given reasons why they should stay, why they should go, and ultimately what I believe they will do.

Player: Cardale Jones

Why stay: I’m not sure a good argument can be made for why he should stay. You could argue maybe that he should transfer down to the FCS for a year to finally show what he can do for a full season of play, but I don’t think sticking around for another year at Ohio State would do anybody any good. I wrote last year that he should leave, and I still feel the same way now.

Why go: I know there are people who think he won’t get drafted if he leaves this year, but those people are wrong. Cardale Jones has what the NFL wants — size and arm strength. They always believe they can mold those two attributes into a professional quarterback, and you can see that by the mediocre college quarterbacks who get drafted every single year. Jones would have been a second round pick, and possibly a late first round pick last year, had he come out. He still has the same tools he did a year ago.

Prediction: Considering that he has already said his goodbyes via Instagram, I will predict that he is leaving for the NFL. Urban Meyer said last week that he and Jones will sit down after the season and talk, but the decision has already been made. At this point, Jones would have to be talked into staying.

Player: Ezekiel Elliott

Why stay: Well, Ezekiel Elliott is about 1,800 yards away from being Ohio State’s all-time leading rusher, so that would be an incentive to come back. It would also be an opportunity to avenge the Michigan State loss and try to win another national championship.

Why go: It is tough to turn down the opportunity to be a first round NFL draft pick, and that’s where Elliott is right now. Plus, as a running back, you only have so many carries in you. Fortunately for

Order The Thrillogy now!

Elliott, he only has two seasons of a starter’s workload on his wheels, which is even more of a draw for NFL teams. His speed and power and size are also a plus, as is his versatility as a receiver and a blocker. Basically, he is the prototype, and it is time for the prototype to be put into the marketplace.

Prediction: Sources tell me that Ezekiel Elliott will be leaving for the NFL Draft. My source on this one is pretty good, but I can’t reveal him to you. Let’s just call him “Ezekiel E”. No, that’s too revealing. Let’s call him “E Elliott”.

Player: Michael Thomas

Why stay: With Ezekiel Elliott leaving, the 2016 season will be an opportunity for playmakers to have a much larger role in the offense than they did in 2015. Having one quarterback starter for the entire season will also make the passing game more consistent, you would think. Instead of the four catches per game Michael Thomas got this year, maybe he can get six per game next year and leave as the No. 1 receiver draft prospect.

Why go: Thomas is a fourth-year junior who also spent a year at prep school, so he might just be ready to move on with the next phase of his life. With his size, speed, and ability to compete for the football, he is certainly a first round possibility. He is pretty much a constant in the top 40 picks in most mock drafts.

Prediction: I expect him to enter the NFL Draft. He is likely a top three receiver in the draft, so that could very well put him in the first round.

Player: Jalin Marshall

Why stay: He could be the No. 1 receiver for the Buckeyes next year, which should considerably help his draft stock. A more consistent passing game next season will also help him. 

Why go: He shouldn’t, unless he wants to, of course. The purpose of college is to help you get a job, and Marshall has certainly showcased an ability to get open as a slot receiver, as well as a punt returner. He also played outside all of 2015, so he has that experience to offer as well.

Prediction: I think Jalin Marshall will be back. Next season will be a better opportunity to show what he can do.

Player: Pat Elflein

Why stay: Pat Elflein is already one of the top guards in the draft, but if he comes back and plays center next season he will only increase his value to NFL teams.

Why go: Elflein is a fourth-year junior who will be seeing fellow classmates Taylor Decker and Jacoby Boren leaving Ohio State, as well as Chase Farris. As one of the top guards in the NFL Draft, maybe he decides to move on like his linemates. And if he projects to be in the same round next year after a year at center, why wait to leave?

Prediction: I go back and forth on Pat Elflein and what he is going to do, but right now I think he comes back for his senior season. That being said, he is projected as high as the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by CBS, and if that is the same kind of feedback that he receives from the NFL, that’s going to be hard to say no to. Probably impossible to say no to, actually.

Player: Cameron Johnston

Why stay: Punters rarely leave early for the NFL Draft, at least not successfully, anyway.

Why go: Johnston is one of the best punters in the nation and given his excessive life experience at this point, perhaps he is ready to move on and see if the NFL is as easy as college football.

Prediction: I think he returns, but it’s a good thing the Buckeyes are going to sign one of the nation’s top high school punters in the 2016 recruiting class just in case.

OSU Defensive Prospects on Page 2

* * * * *
To Contribute by mail Make checks and mail to:
Ozone Communications, LLC
1351 King Avenue, Ste 100B
Columbus, Ohio 43212

Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Contribute to the-Ozone.

(c) 1996-2020 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, rebroadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisements Disabled