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2020 NFL Draft

9 observations from Ohio State's Pro Day


COLUMBUS -- The snow is melting and the weather is warming, which means one major thing: The 2015 NFL draft is slowly inching its way here.

Many in the NFL converged to the Ohio State campus Friday, including Here's what we saw and heard.

1) There were some heavy hitters who showed up to Columbus. Head coaches Mike Tomlin and Marvin Lewis represented the Steelers and Bengals, respectively; Lions general manager Martin Mayhew was making the rounds and the Browns sent a significant portion of the offensive staff, including coordinator John DeFilippo, wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, tight ends coach Brian Angelichio and offensive assistant Mike McCarthy.  

2) The actual scouting of Ohio State prospects wasn't the only reason the Buckeyes' pro day was so well attended. Quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliot were milling around the Buckeyes' practice facility chatting it up with several NFL people. Scouts and coaches wanted to get a feel for the personalities of the two superstars' personalities, who led Ohio State to a championship. At this point, both could end up as first round picks in 2016.

3)  Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith was the most popular of the 14 players who worked out in Columbus, but he opted not to run the 40-yard dash. Smith wisely stood by the blazing 4.42-second time he ran at the NFL Combine last month in Indianapolis, which enabled him to climb up many draft boards across the league.

4) Smith still did, however, decide to participate in passing drills. During his junior season, Smith only caught 33 passes, but 12 of them went for touchdowns. There's good and bad that come with his statistics. Clearly, Smith can hit home runs and stretch the defense. But now, he has to prove that he's not just a deep threat.

5) "[I'm trying] to hush the critics of me being able to only run one route," Smith said. "I thought it was very important to come out here and run all the routes, and show them I've improved."

6) Throwing the football in those passing drills? The 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith. And the 30-year-old was getting into the workout, too. By the time the 30-minute session ended, Smith was dripping in sweat. Smith last appeared in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010 and was mostly recently with the Montreal Alouettes in 2013.

7) Defensive back Doran Grant turned some heads during his workout. What scouts told us they like about the 5-foot-11, 200 pounder are his skills as a nickel cornerback and he's flexible enough to even earn a test run at safety in the NFL. The Akron native displayed the footwork to track receivers up and down the field. Most mock drafts project Grant to be selected in the third round.

8) Pro days don't accentuate every player, though. Take tight end Jeff Heuerman for example. The 6-foot-5, 254 pounder's strengths are making tough catches in traffic and his ability to shed tacklers after the catch – both of which you can't prove with in shorts and a t-shirt. By no means did Heuerman have a poor showing, but it's just tough to gauge how legitimate of a force he could be in the NFL. Mock drafts peg him in the fourth or fifth round.

9) Defensive lineman Michael Bennett was seen limping after his 40-yard dash attempt, as he appeared to grab his hamstring area. Bennett and his 6-foot-2, 293-pound frame are one of many defensive linemen who have been linked to the Browns in mock drafts. We overheard some chatter from scouts at the Pro Day who said the injury shouldn't sway his draft stock, which is right now in the early second round.

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