Ohio State vs. Michigan: Top NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Big Ten Rivalry

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 30, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 23:  Carlos Hyde #34 of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks for running room in the first quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Indiana 42-14.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines will be playing in one of the biggest rivalries in all of college football on Saturday, and there are a number of talented players in this game that we could see heading to the NFL after this season.

Referred to as "The Game," this rivalry is almost always a huge game between both teams. However, the Buckeyes have the clear advantage in this one, as they haven't lost a single game over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the Wolverines have struggled, going just 7-4 this year with a losing record against Big Ten teams.

While the game may not be close, it will still be a great opportunity to get a look at a number of top-tier NFL draft prospects. Below is a breakdown of some of the most pro-ready players, looking at where they could go in this year's draft.


Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State

Although he didn't play in the team's first three games, it's really hard to ignore just how well Carlos Hyde has been playing for the Buckeyes.

In just eight games, Hyde has run for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging a very impressive 7.7 yards per carry. Over the past three games, he's carried the ball 50 times for 474 yards and six touchdowns, as he's simply on a tear.

At 6'0'' and 242 pounds, Hyde looks like a power back, and he can certainly run through defenders and pick up yards after contact. However, he's also become a much more explosive running back this season, showing some impressive acceleration and agility as well.

The problem with running backs is that they've become less valuable to NFL teams. Still, Hyde is one of the better running back prospects in this year's class, and he should be able to go somewhere in the third or fourth round.


Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

EAST HARTFORD, CT - SEPTEMBER 21: Taylor Lewan #77 of the Michigan Wolverines leaves the field after defeating the Connecticut Huskies at Rentschler Field on September 21, 2013 in East Hartford, Connecticut.   (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

This year's Michigan team doesn't have the same kind of NFL talent that it tends to have. However, they do have one player in particular that could be one of the top players taken in May, with offensive tackle Taylor Lewan.

Lewan was a first-team All-American last season, and returned as a fifth-year senior for the 2013 season, even though he likely could have been a first-round pick in 2012. However, with how many impressive offensive tackles there were in last year's class, it might have been a good idea for Lewan to stay another season.

At 6'8'' and 308 pounds, Lewan is a perfect prospect from a physical standpoint at the position. He combines his good height and length with some excellent footwork, helping him stay in front of even the most athletic pass-rushers. While he's not the most polished offensive lineman from a technical standpoint, Lewan's natural ability alone makes him capable of being an instant starter on any NFL team.

With the right coaching and development, Lewan could very well become one of the best offensive tackles at the next level. Jake Matthews is still arguably the best prospect at the position, but Lewan is right behind him.  

With that in mind, Lewan should have no problem being a top-10 pick in this year's draft.


Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Both Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier could very well be going in the first round of the NFL draft this May, but I wanted to take a closer look at the former in this one.

It's been a turbulent season for Roby after he had such a great run in 2012. He seriously struggled against Wisconsin earlier this season, but he's also shown at times that he can make those big plays we saw last year, grabbing three interceptions and defending 12 passes this season.

While not the biggest cornerback at 5'11'' and 192 pounds, Roby makes up for it with some top-end speed at the position. He's capable of running with even the fastest of receivers in the country, and he's arguably one of the quickest defensive players in this year's draft.

While he's shown some struggles in coverage over this year, Roby is still one of the better coverage corners in college football, and he should find a home late in the first round.


Note: All statistics, heights and weights are provided by ESPN.com