5 things to know about Ohio State and the 2024 NFL Draft

At least six players from Ohio State have been drafted in each of the last eight years, and at least five have been taken in the last 10.

Both streaks are in at least some jeopardy as only three or four former Buckeyes look like sure-things to be drafted, but several more are in the conversation.

A total of 257 picks are scheduled, and The Athletic had six Buckeyes in its top 250: receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (2), defensive tackle Mike Hall Jr. (60), tight end Cade Stover (101), linebacker Tommy Eichenberg (106), safety Josh Proctor (165) and linebacker Steele Chambers (247). Also in contention to be drafted or at least sign as a free agent after the draft are offensive lineman Matt Jones, running back Miyan Williams and receiver Xavier Johnson Jr.

Perhaps all of them hear their names called before the draft ends Saturday afternoon, but the later the draft goes, the harder picks are to project as teams begin narrowing their boards to fit needs that have no already been addressed.

Here are five things to know about Ohio State and the 2024 NFL Draft:

1. The Buckeyes should have at least one first-rounder for a program-record eight years in a row.

That is a safe bet as Harrison is universally considered one of the best players available Thursday night.

How early he goes is dependent on two things: How many teams decide they must get a quarterback as soon as they can (thus potentially trading up into the top three or four), and if any teams decide they prefer one of the other elite receiver prospects in this draft.

Washington’s Rome Odunze and Malik Nabers of LSU are also part of the latter group, and all three have somewhat different skill sets.

2. Harrison will be Ohio State’s fourth receiver taken in the first round in the past three years.

After Chris Olave (Saints) and Garrett Wilson (Jets) snapped a 14-year first round receiver drought for the Buckeyes in 2022, Jaxon Smith-Njigba started a new streak last year when he was chosen by the Seahawks.

Overall, Ohio State has had 12 receivers drafted (in any round) since 2015 and is averaging 1.0 per year since 2001.

3. Proctor is hoping to snap a streak.

Ohio State has not have a defensive back drafted since Shaun Wade went to the Ravens in the fifth round in 2021.

At that point, Ohio State went eight consecutive years with at least one defensive back draftee, including more than one in 2014, ‘16, ‘17 and ‘20.

The last Ohio State safety to be drafted was Jordan Fuller, who went to the Rams in the sixth round in 2020. He is the only OSU safety drafted in the last six years.

If Proctor is not drafted, Ohio State will go three years without a defensive back taken since the first three years of the common draft era — 1967-69. That was part of a 10-year stretch with none that started after Dick LeBeau went to the Lions in 1959.

4. Hall is a bit of an enigma.

The Streetsboro, Ohio, native figures to be Ohio State’s first interior defensive lineman drafted since Tommy Togiai went to the Browns in the fourth round in 2021, but how high will he go?

His best as a Buckeye was great, but it was not on display all that often.

A shoulder injury held Hall back in 2022, and he still only played about 400 snaps last season when he was a third-team All-Big Ten pick while making 2.5 tackles for loss.

At 6-foot-3, 290 lbs., he is cat-quick but smaller than the prototypical 3-technique tackle so scheme fit figures be important in determining if he becomes a disruptive force or fades into the background at the next level.

5. Stover could be a steal.

The Big Ten Tight End of the Year caught 41 passes for 576 yards and five touchdowns last season to become one of the most productive players Ohio State has seen at the position in decades.

The 6-4, 247-pounder had a solid showing at the NFL Scouting Combine but still faces questions about his blocking and open-field quickness to get away from defenders.

For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus ranks Stover the No. 4 tight end in the class and projected him to go to the Bengals with the No. 115 pick in a mock draft posted Monday.

As a catch-first tight end with the potential to develop as a blocker, Stover does seem like a fit for Cincinnati, where the position has been lacking a long-term answer for several seasons.

Stover likely would not mind staying in Ohio because that would allow him to be closer to his family farm in Richland County northeast of Columbus.