Ohio State football's 5 best 2018 NFL Draft prospects – Landof10.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In the past two years, Ohio State had 19 players selected in the NFL draft.

The Buckeyes’ best crop of draft prospects under Urban Meyer, however, might be a year away.

Take one look at Ohio State’s roster for the upcoming season and potential pro talent won’t be hard to find. In fact, it’s not inconceivable the Buckeyes could break their 2004 record of 14 players picked in a single draft.

While it seems likely Ohio State’s draft haul a year from now will reach double-digits, some Buckeyes’ prospects already stand out above the rest. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five best 2018 NFL Draft prospects on the  roster.

5. Denzel Ward

A list of Buckeyes’ draft prospects wouldn’t be complete without including a cornerback. After all, Ohio State has had four players at the position picked in the first round of the past four NFL drafts.

As he enters his junior season, Denzel Ward appears to be the Buckeyes’ next man up. And although he’s a bit undersized at 5-foot-10, 191 pounds, his speed should make him a first-round caliber prospect in 2018.

Ohio State football-Ohio State Buckeyes-Denzel Ward
Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward has the speed needed to play in the NFL. (Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10).

4. Jamarco Jones

In his first season as Ohio State’s starting left tackle, Jamarco Jones earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. Entering his senior year, it’s not unthinkable that the Chicago native could make the jump to All-American.

If he can do that, the 6-5, 310-pound player could be one of the first tackles to come off the board next spring. As a left tackle, Jones plays a premium position. All indications have been that he does so at a premium level.

3. Dre’Mont Jones

While he may not garner the same attention as his cohorts on the Ohio State defensive line, Dre’Mont Jones is one of the most intriguing prospects on the Buckeyes’ roster. At 6-3, 295 pounds, Jones possesses the ability to line up at defensive tackle. But he also has the skill set to rush the passer like an end.

In his first mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller projected the Cleveland native to be selected with the No. 22 overall pick in next year’s first round. And with a big year in 2017, the redshirt sophomore could climb even higher.

Defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones possesses first-round potential. (Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10).

2. Sam Hubbard

Had Sam Hubbard opted to enter the 2017 NFL Draft, the Buckeyes defensive end would likely been picked high — perhaps in the first round. Instead, Hubbard opted to return to Ohio State for his redshirt junior season, where he’ll help anchor one of the nation’s top defensive lines.

With the versatility to also play linebacker, the former lacrosse standout is already on the radar of NFL teams. Even if he doesn’t post big numbers in the coming year, the 6-5, 265-pound Hubbard should hear his name called sooner rather than later in the next draft.

1. Jerome Baker

At this time a year ago, linebacker Jerome Baker was preparing to backup Dante Booker on the Buckeyes’ depth chart.

What a difference a year makes.

After a Booker injury in the season opener paved the way for a breakout season from his understudy, Baker enters his junior campaign as one of the top defensive players in college football. The Cleveland native has also garnered attention for his potential in the pros, with Bleacher Report’s Miller projecting him as a first-round pick.

At 6-1, 225 pounds, Baker is similar in size to former Ohio State linebackers Ryan Shazier and Darron Lee. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that both of those players were drafted in the first round. Baker appears to be next in line in the lineage of NFL-ready Buckeyes linebackers.

Ohio State recruiting: Time, full rosters, live updates for The Opening Finals 2017

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