If the Big Ten conference didn’t cancel fall sports for the 2020 season, the absolutely loaded Ohio State Buckeyes would be legit national championship contenders. Head coach Ryan Day has a roster filled with NFL talent and has Ohio State at the pinnacle of college football programs for talent development. The list of top Ohio State 2021 NFL Draft prospects might even be more talented than the Buckeyes sensational 2020 class.
Ohio State’s 2020 NFL Draft class featured the second overall pick of the draft in pass-rusher Chase Young and the third overall selection in cornerback Jeff Okudah. Also, cornerback Damon Arnette was a top-20 selection by the Las Vegas Raiders and the talented J.K. Dobbins was selected by the Baltimore Ravens toward the end of round two. The Buckeyes had a total of 10 players selected in the 2020 Draft, and the 2021 class might see even more selected.
Players such as running back Trey Sermon, tight end Jeremy Ruckert, offensive tackle Thayer Munford, defensive end Jonathan Cooper, and linebackers Baron Browning, Pete Werner, and Tuf Borland all will likely hear their names called in the mid-to-late rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. In addition to these players, Ohio State’s top six prospects will be either first-round or second-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Top Ohio State prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft
Justin Fields, Quarterback, Junior (6’3″, 223 pounds)
It appears that the Ohio State Buckeyes might not be playing football in 2020, and it’s a real shame. Quarterback Justin Fields would be a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, and if he played at the same level as he did in 2019, he would be a legit threat to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Fields is coming off of the heels of a sensational 2019 season, in which he threw for 3,273 yards and a jaw-dropping 41 touchdowns. Fields, a riveting dual-threat prospect, also hurt defenses with his legs, running for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Tony Pauline perfectly summarizes Justin Fields, stating: “The prospect talk at Ohio State begins with Justin Fields, a quarterback I find very impressive. While he’s shorter and smaller than I usually like in a signal-caller, Fields has all the other skills to be a dominant starter in the NFL. He’s a talented passer with great patience and poise. He possesses a next-level arm, and while he needs to improve his pass placement, Fields has next-level accuracy. Fields is also a threat to run with the ball, but he does so only when completely necessary.”
If he declares for the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields is a surefire top-10 selection. Quarterback needy teams such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, the Washington Football Team, and the Chicago Bears would line up for Fields if they find themselves on the outside looking in for Trevor Lawrence. Fields’ skill set translates well to the modern-day NFL, as he can hurt defenses with his arm and his legs.
Wyatt Davis, Guard, Junior (6’4″, 310 pounds)
It’s not popular for NFL teams to spend high first-round draft picks on interior offensive linemen, but Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis warrants that type of standing. Davis possesses a brilliant blend of size, strength, and quickness, which allows him to dominate defensive tackles at the point of attack.
In the running game, Davis is a monster, possessing the ability to climb the second level with ease. For a man of his size, Davis has staggering movement skills. Matt Valdovinos is also a fan of Davis, exclaiming “Davis is dominant at the point of attack and possesses a very smooth and refined pass set. ”
When the dust settles, Davis will be the first interior offensive lineman off the board and the highest selected guard since Quenton Nelson.
Shaun Wade, Defensive Back, Redshirt Junior (6’1″, 195 pounds)
Since 2017, the Ohio State Buckeyes have had an impressive six defensive backs selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. After the 2021 NFL Draft, that number will rise to seven, as the versatile Shaun Wade is a lock to go in the first round next April.
As Tony Pauline points out regarding Wade, “He’s the total package at the position and combines size, speed, and ball skills to make a terrific cover corner. Wade’s physical brand of football is also eye-popping.”
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My favorite trait in regards to Wade is his versatility. He possesses the ability to play on the perimeter, but can effectively kick inside to play the slot. This type of versatility reminds me of Pittsburgh Steelers’ All-Pro defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Wade will be a top-20 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, with teams such as the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars being tremendous fits.
Josh Myers, Center, Junior (6’5″, 315 pounds)
While he may not be of the caliber of his teammate Wyatt Davis, center Josh Myers is a bonafide Day 2 pick in his own right. In fact, outside of Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, Myers just might be the best center prospect in the 2021 Draft class.
Myers is tough and durable, playing in over 900 snaps in 2019, which earned him second-team All-Big Ten honors. He plays the game with a nastiness that coaches will love, and it is an absolute pleasure watching him finish blocks in the running game.
Chris Olave, Wide Receiver, Junior (6’0″, 185 pounds)
Despite a potentially historic 2021 wide receiver class, Ohio State’s Chris Olave is a name to monitor. He was Justin Fields’ favorite target in 2019, as he hauled in 48 receptions for 840 yards and 12 touchdowns.
When you watch film on Olave, his game-changing speed stands out. He is an outstanding vertical threat, pairing his explosiveness and acceleration to blow the roof off of opposing defenses. He is a gifted route runner, utilizing his splendid movement skills to get in and out of his breaks with ease.
While it seems unlikely Olave will be presented the opportunity to improve his draft stock in 2020, his tape flashes big-play ability and he should find himself as a Day 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.