Ohio State Football: Former Buckeye Players to Watch for at 2016 NFL Combine

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2016

Ohio State Football: Former Buckeye Players to Watch for at 2016 NFL Combine

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Ohio State is sending a nation-best 14 players to the NFL combine this week, and while a handful of former Buckeyes already have first-round grades, others are trying to improve their stock ahead of the draft in April. 

    The combine serves as the best outlet for players to showcase their ability to the 32 NFL teams looking to upgrade their talent level. The Buckeyes have players at every position group heading to Indianapolis this week, highlighted by standout defensive end Joey Bosa and running back Ezekiel Elliott. 

    Here are three Buckeyes to keep an eye on this week. 

DE Joey Bosa

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Joey Bosa is Ohio State's top NFL prospect, and he can cement his status as a top-five pick with a solid showing at the combine.

    The superstar defensive end became one of the most consistent pass-rushers in the country over the last three years, finishing his career with 150 total tackles, 50.5 tackles for loss and 26 sacks. He was named a consensus first-team All-American in each of his final two seasons, anchoring a defense that improved to a top-10 unit in 2015.

    His combination of size, speed and strength made him nearly impossible to block in one-on-one situations last year, and he should be able to put that on display at the combine. 

WR Braxton Miller

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Braxton Miller flashed potential in his first and only season as a wide receiver at Ohio State, making highlight-reel plays that few players at the position could replicate. 

    However, Miller was inconsistent from a production standpoint. After breaking out in the Buckeyes' season opener against Virginia Techpiling up 140 total yards and two touchdowns—he averaged just 38 total yards per game in Ohio State's final 12 contests. 

    But Miller is out to prove that was the result of a clunky offense that struggled to find its identity and not a reflection of his skills as a wideout.

    His showing at the Senior Bowl suggested that was the case. Miller was nearly untouchable in Mobile, Alabama, showcasing his ridiculous speed and surprisingly polished route-running skills. He was voted the top standout by NFL scouts, and he's looking to build on that momentum in Indianapolis.

    Watching Miller run the 40-yard dash will be must-see television. The blazing playmaker has his sights set on Adidas' $1 million bounty, which will be awarded to the player who breaks the record of 4.24 seconds (while wearing the company's new cleats).

QB Cardale Jones

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    Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

    No player has more to gain—or lose—in Indianapolis than Cardale Jones. 

    The big-armed quarterback was named Ohio State's starter after leading the Buckeyes through a historic postseason run in 2014 and beating out J.T. Barrett in an offseason position battle. He struggled with his consistency and accuracy in 2015, though, and it was clear that he missed his best target from the previous season in Devin Smith.

    After throwing for just 1,242 yards and seven touchdowns against five interceptions through seven games, he was benched in favor of Barrett.

    The 6'5", 250-pound signal-caller has the ideal size and arm strength for the NFL, and he can show that to NFL scouts this week.

    He can improve his stock greatly with a good showing. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected Jones as a sixth-round pick to the San Diego Chargers, but if he can display improved accuracy in throwing drills, next-level decision-makers could fall in love with his high upside.

    Stats are courtesy of cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.


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