It’s officially NFL mock draft season.
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs in last weekend’s Super Bowl to complete the 2020 NFL season, the selection order for the 2021 NFL draft has now been set (excluding compensatory picks, which have not yet been announced), making this a popular week for NFL writers and draft experts to publish mock drafts.
Not all of those mock drafts are created equal, as some mock drafts only project the first round while others forecast two or three rounds or even all seven rounds, but we scoured the Web to round up an array of those mock drafts from various media outlets and personalities and get an idea of where Ohio State’s top draft prospects are projected to be selected right now.
The only Buckeye who’s unanimously regarded as a first-round pick in those mock drafts is Justin Fields, who’s projected to be selected as early as the No. 2 overall pick.
Most current mock drafts do not project any other Buckeyes to be first-round picks, though 10 other former Ohio State players made appearances somewhere between the first and seventh rounds in at least one of the other mock drafts we surveyed. Two other Buckeyes are projected as first-round picks in at least one mock draft, while seven Buckeyes drew at least one projection in the first two rounds.
The full list of 16 mock drafts included in our first Ohio State NFL mock draft roundup of 2021:
All mock drafts included have been published since the Super Bowl, though some mock drafts project trades and compensatory picks while others do not, resulting in different pick numbers for some teams across various mocks.
QB Justin Fields
Perez: Round 1, No. 2 overall, New York Jets
D. Miller: Round 1, No. 2 overall, Carolina Panthers (projected trade)
Brugler: Round 1, No. 3 overall, Carolina Panthers (projected trade)
Edwards: Round 1, No. 3 overall, Philadelphia Eagles (projected trade)
Crabbs: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons
Easterling: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons
Edholm: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons
Iyer: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons
McShay: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons
Reuter: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons
Tankathon: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Atlanta Falcons
Renner: Round 1, No. 4 overall, Carolina Panthers (projected trade)
Draft Tek: Round 1, No. 7 overall, Detroit Lions
Sobleski: Round 1, No. 7 overall, Detroit Lions
M. Miller: Round 1, No. 8 overall, Carolina Panthers
Trapasso: Round 1, No. 8 overall, Houston Texans (projected trade)
There’s a consensus that the Jacksonville Jaguars will draft Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick, but no consensus on where Fields will end up, though every post-Super Bowl mock draft we saw had Fields going somewhere between the second and eighth selections.
The most popular mock draft destination for Fields right now has him returning to his home state of Georgia and landing as the No. 4 overall pick with the Atlanta Falcons. With Matt Ryan about to turn 36 years old, the Falcons might not be able to pass upon the opportunity to make Fields their quarterback of the future if he makes it past the top three picks.
Another popular projected landing spot for Fields is the Carolina Panthers, though three of the four mock drafts he landed in projected that they’ll need to trade up from the No. 4 overall pick to get Fields. The Panthers are known to be in the market for a new quarterback – they reportedly already offered the No. 8 overall pick for Matthew Stafford before he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams – so they certainly could be motivated to move up if the New York Jets don’t draft Fields for themselves at No. 2.
Other teams viewed as potential candidates to trade for Fields are the Philadelphia Eagles, who are currently fielding trade offers for Carson Wentz, and the Houston Texans, who Chris Trapasso projects to receive that pick from the Panthers as part of a package of picks in exchange for current Texans starting quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has made it clear he wants out of Houston.
G Wyatt Davis
Draft Tek: Round 1, No. 15 overall, New England Patriots
Tankathon: Round 1, No. 28 overall, New Orleans Saints
Easterling: Round 1, No. 31 overall, Kansas City Chiefs
D. Miller: Round 2, No. 43 overall, San Francisco 49ers
Crabbs: Round 2, No. 44 overall, San Francisco 49ers
M. Miller: Round 2, No. 47 overall, Los Angeles Chargers
Reuter: Round 3, No. 69 overall, Cincinnati Bengals
If a second Buckeye gets selected in the first round of this year’s draft, the most likely candidate is Davis, who’s widely regarded as one of the top two guards in this year’s draft along with USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker. That said, he’s far from a lock to be a first-round pick, showing up in the top 32 picks of only three of the 16 mock drafts we surveyed.
Davis did make appearances in all seven mock drafts that included at least two rounds, though NFL.com’s Chad Reuter has Davis falling to Round 3 and the Cincinnati Bengals, who should be ecstatic if they land a two-time All-American guard in the third round given their need for offensive line help.
Draft Tek’s projection of Davis as a top-15 pick is an outlier among recent mock drafts, but the most commonly projected range for the former Ohio State mauler is between the late first round and early second round. Multiple mocks have him landing in the second round with the San Francisco 49ers, who are in need of an upgrade at the right guard position Davis played for the Buckeyes.
Wyatt Davis is viewed as Ohio State’s most likely first-round pick after Justin Fields, but he’s far from a first-round lock.
LB Baron Browning
D. Miller: Round 1, No. 28 overall, New Orleans Saints
Crabbs: Round 2, No. 39 overall, Detroit Lions
M. Miller: Round 2, No. 59 overall, Cleveland Browns
Tankathon: Round 3, No. 90 overall, Cleveland Browns
Reuter: Round 3, No. 102 overall, New Orleans Saints (projected compensatory pick)
Draft Tek: Round 4, No. 100 overall, Cleveland Browns
The wild card potential first-rounder for Ohio State could be Browning, whose projections range everywhere from the No. 28 overall pick to the early fourth round. While Browning’s career at Ohio State never quite lived up to the hype he came in with as a five-star recruit, his physical attributes and the playmaking ability he flashed as a Buckeye could convince an NFL team to make an early bet on his upside.
One popular projected landing spot for Browning is the Cleveland Browns, which makes sense given that more athleticism at linebacker is arguably the Browns’ biggest need in this year’s draft. He’s also slotted in multiple mock drafts to the New Orleans Saints, who have rostered a multitude of former Ohio State players in recent years and should be looking to add a playmaker at the position this offseason.
C/G Josh Myers
Reuter: Round 2, No. 43 overall, San Francisco 49ers
D. Miller: Round 2, No. 58 overall, Baltimore Ravens
Tankathon: Round 3, No. 76 overall, New York Giants
Draft Tek: Round 3, No. 81 overall, Miami Dolphins
M. Miller: Round 3, No. 96 overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Crabbs: Round 3, No. 103 overall, Los Angeles Rams
While most multi-round mock drafts have Davis being drafted before Myers, Reuter actually projects Myers to be Ohio State’s first interior offensive lineman off the board, going to the 49ers in the second round to address their aforementioned need for interior offensive line help.
Myers, who started at center at Ohio State for the past two years but could potentially play either center or guard in the NFL, is projected to be a Day 2 draft pick in every mock draft we surveyed that included at least three rounds. Most of those mock drafts have Myers as a third-round selection, but he’ll be in the conversation as a potential second-round pick.
DT Tommy Togiai
Crabbs: Round 2, No. 53 overall, Indianapolis Colts
M. Miller: Round 2, No. 64 overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Reuter: Round 3, No. 100 overall, Tennessee Titans
Draft Tek: Round 5, No. 147 overall, Chicago Bears
Togiai told Eleven Warriors that the NFL’s College Advisory Committee graded him as a second- or third-round draft pick, and he’s projected in that range by the majority of mock drafts we surveyed that included at least three rounds.
Two of those three projections have Togiai heading to the AFC South, while the other has him joining the new league champions. Regardless of where he ends up, he’s likely to continue playing the same nose tackle position he played at Ohio State, whether that be in a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive front.
LB Pete Werner
D. Miller: Round 2, No. 62 overall, Green Bay Packers
M. Miller: Round 3, No. 71 overall, Denver Broncos
Crabbs: Round 3, No. 89 overall, Cleveland Browns
Draft Tek: Round 4, No. 130 overall, Houston Texans
Werner is another Ohio State prospect whose draft projections range from late in the second round to falling into Day 3.
The most generous projection among these mock drafts comes from Pro Football Network’s Dalton Miller, who accurately describes Werner as “the type of linebacker the NFL is growing towards” in predicting the Green Bay Packers will select him with their second-round pick. Like Browning, Werner is an athletic linebacker who could also fit a major need for the Browns, who The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs projects will take Werner with their third-round draft choice.
Pete Werner is projected to be drafted between the second and fourth rounds.
CB Shaun Wade
Tankathon: Round 2, No. 63 overall, Kansas City Chiefs
Draft Tek: Round 3, No. 71 overall, Denver Broncos
Reuter: Round 3, No. 73 overall, New York Jets (projected trade)
M. Miller: Round 3, No. 92 overall, Cleveland Browns
Viewed as a potential first-round pick going into his final season at Ohio State, Wade is now mostly projected to be a third-round pick, landing there in three of the five mock drafts we surveyed that included at least three rounds.
Tankathon has the Kansas City Chiefs drafting Wade with the second-to-last pick of the second round, while three other mock drafts have him landing somewhere in the third round. Like Browning and Werner, the projected potential landing spots for Wade include the Browns, where he’d join a secondary that already includes fellow former Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.
RB Trey Sermon
Draft Tek: Round 3, No. 79 overall, Arizona Cardinals
Tankathon: Round 3, No. 96 overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
M. Miller: Round 4, No. 109 overall, Los Angeles Chargers
The eighth and final Buckeye currently projected as a potential top-100 selection is Sermon, whose late-season surge in his lone year at Ohio State has him currently projected as a third-round pick in multiple mock drafts.
The Cardinals (Kenyan Drake), Buccaneers (Ronald Jones) and Chargers (Austin Ekeler) all have established starters at running back, but Drake is an impending free agent while he would likely factor in as a No. 2 running back, at least initially, for just about any team that would draft him in the third or fourth round.
LB Justin Hilliard
M. Miller: Round 6, No. 162 overall, New York Jets
After excelling in Ohio State’s final three games of the season and putting in another strong showing at the Senior Bowl – Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said no player in the draft helped himself more during that two-month stretch – Hilliard appears to have a very real chance of being a Day 3 draft pick.
Matt Miller has Hilliard coming off the board with the second pick of the sixth round in his first 7-round mock draft of the year, predicting that Hilliard will land with the Jets. Given their need for more talent across the board and that they have numerous impending free agents at linebacker, he’d likely be in a favorable spot to make their roster if that scenario came to fruition.
DE Jonathon Cooper
M. Miller: Round 7, No. 193 overall, Jacksonville Jaguars
Draft Tek: Round 7, No. 217 overall, Pittsburgh Steelers
Out of all the mock drafts we surveyed, the only one that paired any of the Buckeyes with their former coach Urban Meyer was Miller’s, which has Cooper going to the Jacksonville Jaguars with the first pick of the seventh round.
Considering how highly regarded Cooper is within the Ohio State football program, it’s easy to imagine Meyer using a late-round draft pick to bring him to Jacksonville as a rotational defensive end who can be also a great locker-room presence.
Draft Tek has Cooper going to the Steelers, where he’d be reunited with his former Ohio State teammate Dwayne Haskins and join a defensive line unit by another former Buckeye, Cam Heyward.
LB Tuf Borland
Draft Tek: Round 7, No. 203 overall, Los Angeles Chargers
M. Miller: Round 7, No. 223 overall, Kansas City Chiefs
Miller projects Borland to be the second-to-last pick of the draft (though his mock does not include projected compensatory picks), indicating that Borland sits right on the bubble between being a late-round pick and going undrafted.
Whether Borland ultimately gets drafted will depend on whether a team is confident his ability to make plays around the line of scrimmage will be enough for him to carve out a role on its defense despite concerns about his athleticism and coverage ability. That said, both seven-round mocks we surveyed included Borland as a final-round selection.