Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Ohio State players with draft eligibility

Ohio State CB Denzel Ward. Photo by The Lantern

The Ohio State Buckeyes have now had three players decide forgo any further eligibility, and enter the NFL Draft. CB Denzel Ward skipped the Cotton Bowl and declared for the draft, and DE Sam Hubbard declared after playing in the Cotton Bowl. LB Jerome Baker announced last night that he would be heading for the NFL.

Good luck to those three, it’s probably the best decision for all of them. All three of them are projected to be drafted early in the 2018 NFL Draft, especially Ward who could be the first CB drafted.

So is this it for the early departures? There are still a few players with big decisions to make. RB Mike Weber seemed to hint at a return for his senior season in a tweet, but hasn’t officially confirmed that he will be back.

That looks like good news for Buckeye fans to me.

You’ve got DT Dre’Mont Jones, who has been slotted in the bottom part of the first round by Bleacher Report’s NFL Draft scout Matt Miller. Jones is just a redshirt sophomore, so he has two more years of eligibility at the college level should he choose to use them. He’s an athletic big man who has interior pass rushing skills, something NFL teams covet. He could go make his money now, or he can return for another year to try to improve his draft stock.

After Jones, there are plenty of other Buckeyes who are eligible for the draft, but should not make the leap just yet. Wide Receivers Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and Johnnie Dixon are all eligible, and all three should return to Ohio State for their senior seasons to improve their draft stock.

As for the defense, CBs Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette are also eligible. As we’ve seen from Coach Kerry Coombs and his cornerbacks in the past, these players should wait their turn to be “the” guy, and study under Coach Coombs. After Denzel Ward is drafted in the first round come late April, Coombs will have had five corners drafted in the first round in his six years at Ohio State.

Sheffield and Arnette have bright futures ahead of them, but they should follow the path that has been laid before them. Marshon Lattimore sat behind Gareon Conley, who sat behind Eli Apple, who sat behind Bradley Roby. All of them got their shot to be the #1 CB for Ohio State and they’ve all made a whole lot of money.

All in all, if any player bets on themselves and decides to leave early, good for them. It’s easy to sit here and say they made a terrible decision not coming back for another year, but we have no idea what they might be going through. If the player decides it’s in their best interest to go pro, I for one will be rooting for them.