Ohio State Football: 8 Buckeyes Who Will Impress in 2014 NFL Combine

Cory McCune@@corymccune11Contributor IIIMarch 1, 2013

Ohio State Football: 8 Buckeyes Who Will Impress in 2014 NFL Combine

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    Despite the fact that Ohio State will only have 14 scholarship seniors on the 2013 football roster, expect the Buckeyes' program to grab more attention at the 2014 NFL combine than it did this season.

    While the seniors that led the Buckeyes to an undefeated season may have been full of leaders, it wasn't full of high-end NFL prospects.

    The 2013 NFL combine went by without any former Buckeyes grabbing any headlines—part of that is due to an injury keeping John Simon from rearranging the combine's bench press record.  

    However, the 2014 NFL combine could have a different result, especially if members of the Buckeyes' 2013 junior class decide to declare early for the NFL.

    While none of the players recruited by Urban Meyer will reach NFL eligibility until the 2015 NFL draft, there are still plenty of fast, strong and explosive athletes on the Ohio State roster than could shoot up the draft boards with great combine workouts. 

Carlos Hyde

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    Carlos Hyde considered declaring himself eligible for the 2013 NFL draft, but instead decided to stay one more year at Ohio State.

    Hyde became the Buckeyes' workhorse in the second half of the 2012 season. He led the Big Ten in scoring per game and rushed for nearly 1,000 yards despite battling a knee injury.

    While his size (6'1'' 235 lbs.) makes him a premiere power-back in college, Hyde could surprise at the 2014 NFL combine could be his speed.

    Despite his longest run of the 2012 season being a 29-yard burst against lowly Indiana, Hyde has reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, which would have placed him third among runningbacks at this year's combine.

    Scouts will likely want to see more of that burst during games in 2013m and with a deep stable of ball-carriers at Ohio State, Hyde should be better rested and capable of showing that burst.

Bradley Roby

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    Like Carlos Hyde, Bradley Roby turned down the opportunity to go to the NFL and stay at least another year in Columbus.

    Roby will be a redshirt junior in 2013 meaning he could return for the 2014 season, but considering he thought about leaving this offseason, it would be a surprise if he played his fifth season as a Buckeye.

    Last summer Roby reportedly ran a 4.31 40-yard dash. Then went out and became an All-Big Ten and All-American cornerback as well as earning a spot as one of the Jim Thorpe Award semifinalists

    If Roby is able to continue to progress as a cornerback and then run a sub-4.4 in his 40-yard dash this time next year, then he could be a first-round pick.

Corey "Philly" Brown

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    Corey Brown, the wide receiver and No. 10, proved himself to be Braxton Miller's most reliable target in Ohio State's passing game.

    As a junior Brown caught 60 passes for over 600 yards. If Brown wants to play his way up the NFL draft boards he will need gain more yards after the catch.

    Brown has shown his ability to make plays on special teams too, which will help his draft stock. 

    But if Brown told Columbus Dispatch reporter Tim May the truth last summer and he did run a 4.4 flat when he wasn't 100 percent healthy, then he could light up the 2014 NFL combine.

Andrew Norwell

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    Andrew Norwell saw time as a guard and tackle in his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 2012 Norwell started every game at left guard for the Buckeyes.

    However, Norwell's position in 2013 could be out of his control. If Taylor Decker earns the right tackle spot, then Norwell will stay at left guard.

    But if Decker fails to prove himself at right tackle, then Norwell could move to tackle and Chase Farris and other Buckeyes will battle for the left guard spot.

    Either way his versatility will help his chances of making the jump to the NFL. But the real key for the athletic 6'5'' 305-pound offensive lineman could be a solid workout in Indianapolis.  

Ryan Shazier

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    Ryan Shazier will be a junior in 2013 and could chose to wait another year before entering the NFL draft. 

    However, if he continues to improve like he did during the 2012 season, then it would be an surprise if Shazier donned the Scarlet and Gray in 2014. 

    For those that have seen Shazier fly around the Ohio Stadium turf it should come as no surprise that he was timed at 4.44 in the 40-yard dash in high school. 

    Shazier was listed at 205 lbs. when he ran and is now listed at 230 lbs. Shazier would only have to come close to his 4.44 time to be at, or at least near, the top of the linebackers' times.

    Likewise his 38-inch vertical jump would likely land at the top of the linebackers' standings.

Devin Smith

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    Devin Smith is what some might call a "freak."

    The Buckeyes' best deep-threat the past two seasons in used to doing big things in athletic competition.

    Smith was an Ohio high school state champion in the long jump and the 100-meter dash and finished eighth in the high jump. 

    But he is more than just a naturally gifted athlete. He is a playmaker on the football field. Smith has a flair for the dramatic on and off the field. Which he proved during ESPN's All-Access coverage of Ohio State's summer practices and with his one-handed catch.

    The big concern for Smith is dropped balls; he clearly has physical tools to be an NFL receiver and he will clearly show that when he performs at the NFL combine whether that be in 2014 or 2015.

    If he can show better consistency with his hands, he could work his way into the first couple rounds of the NFL draft.

Braxton Miller

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    We've all seen Braxton Miller run. There simply aren't many football players, let alone QBs, that can do what Miller does with the ball in his hands.

    Besides consistency in his passing mechanics, the biggest thing for Miller's draft stock could be completely out of his control.

    The dual-threat QB is becoming more popular in the NFL with the success of Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick. The trend doesn't appear to be stopping either with the Eagles hiring Chip Kelly from Oregon.

    If those QBs and Kelly have success in 2013 more teams will want dual-threat QBs, which could make Miller a high-value prospect.

    Miller is unlikely to be at the 2014 NFL combine, baring a immensely improved passing season, but when he does go to the combine, don't expect many QBs to test as well in the speed and quickness drills.

Corey Linsley

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    Corey Linsley had a successful season in his first year as the starting center for Ohio State.

    In 2013 he will again anchor an experienced offensive line that will be expected to pave the way for Carlos Hyde, Braxton Miller and the rest of the Buckeye ball-carriers. 

    Judging by the growth during the 2012 season and the return of Linsley and three other starters on the offensive line, the Buckeyes should once again lead the Big Ten in scoring.

    Linsley has posted a 40-yard dash time under five seconds, which won't exactly "wow" scouts, but it is solid for an interior offensive lineman.

    But it could be on the bench press that Linsley makes his biggest mark, where Jack Mewhort proclaimed he could "lift a house." (h/t O-Zone.net)

    Linsley should be greatly relieved he won't have to do that at the combine, he'll just have to rep 225 lbs.