Ohio players impress Kiper

Posted Jan 16, 2013

ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was impressed with several Ohio college players, including quarterback Zac Dysert and defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Miami (Ohio) University quarterback Zac Dysert grew up in Ada, Ohio, and played his high school football down the road from the Wilson football factory that produces every game-used ball in the NFL.

According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., who held a conference call with the national media Wednesday morning, Dysert has a good chance of throwing an NFL football on Sunday afternoons.

“Dysert’s a kid that has all the physical qualifications you look for,” Kiper said. “He has the size -- he’s over 6-3, 226 pounds -- the ability to make some people miss in the pocket and maneuver just enough. If he has to run, he can. Dysert is going to be interesting with the interviews and coming out of the Mid-American Conference.”

This year, Dysert completed 302 of 480 passes for 3,483 yards and 25 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. For his career, he threw for 12,016 yards -- the third-highest total in MAC history -- and 73 touchdowns against 51 interceptions.

“You think about all the quarterbacks that have come out of there, Ben Roethlisberger and that program, I think Dysert’s got a chance to be a guy that people look at in the fifth-round area,” Kiper said. “I think he’s got a chance to be a guy on Day Three that ends up being one of the first quarterbacks off the board.”

Offensively, Kiper was also impressed by Travis Kelce, a Cleveland Heights native and University of Cincinnati product. Kelce, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound tight end, is the younger brother Jason Kelce, center for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The younger Kelce caught 45 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

“You look at the bloodlines there and you think about the size that he brings,” Kiper said. “He’s a big kid that could run. He made some real good catches down the field. I thought he adjusted to some poorly thrown balls really well. To me, he has a chance to be a third-round pick.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Kiper spoke highly of Bowling Green State University defensive tackle Chris Jones. Jones had 12.5 sacks for 84 lost yards and 19 tackles for 100 lost yards in 2012. He also recovered two fumbles and forced another two.

“I saw him in three or four games this year just dominate,” Kiper said. “He’s about 6-1, 6-1½. He’s up around 300 pounds now. He was as productive as any defensive tackle in college football this year, at any school, at any program. He was as productive as anybody. He’s the kind of guy, in the later rounds, that could be a nice addition for somebody.”

Kiper saw Ohio State’s Jonathan Hankins and Cincinnati’s Walter Stewart as potential impact players early and late in the draft, respectively.

Hankins decided to forgo his senior season at Ohio State after making 55 total tackles -- four for lost yards -- registering one sack, and blocking a kick in 12 games this year. Despite some injury problems, Stewart registered five sacks in five games and forced two fumbles during his senior season.

“Johnathan Hankins had his ups and downs, some games where he was quiet, but has enormous upside,” Kiper said. “If a Dontari Poe can go 12, Hankins should go anywhere from 15 to 25. Right now, I have him at 15 to New Orleans.

“(Stewart’s) the kind of guy that when he was out there healthy and at full strength, I thought he had a chance to be a guy that could help you as a pass rusher. I definitely think he’s got a chance (to get drafted). Stewart could be a nice pick up late because of some versatility. He can play up or down.”

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