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2020 NFL Draft

Can OSU's Nick Vannett be next TE to see production blossom in NFL?

There was only one ball at Ohio State, and Nick Vannett knew that all too well.

The talented tight end is considered one of the best available in the 2016 NFL Draft, but he's coming off a year in which he caught just 19 passes for 162 yards. His last touchdown came in the final game of his junior season, a 1-yard catch in the first quarter of the Buckeyes' national championship victory over Oregon.

The NFL Draft, though, is all about what you can do in the future, not what you've done. And Vannett projects as well as any tight end, ranking third in's draft-eligible tight ends and riding a wave of confidence after a successful week in Mobile, Alabama, for the 2016 Senior Bowl.

"I feel like I've always been a good receiver," Vannett said. "At Ohio State I never really had the opportunity to showcase that. I had limited opportunities there. That's why I saw this game as a great opportunity to be able to show that."

Vannett carried the positivity he garnered throughout a week of practices into the game, catching three passes for 58 yards. The yardage was 15 more than any single-game effort during his Buckeyes career.

"Every player here is talented and that's why they're here," Vannett said. "They're the best seniors in the country. It's cool to see how you match up and compete with them. I think I did pretty good and I want to continue to prove that and get some buzz going."

If Vannett finds a nice landing spot in the NFL and sees his receiving production blossom as a result, he would join a long list of tight ends who have done just that.

Carolina Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen never had more than 500 receiving yards in a single season at the University of Miami. This past season, he caught 77 balls for 1,104 yards and seven touchdowns.

Also a Miami alum, Jimmy Graham had 17 receptions for 213 yards the year before he was drafted.

Before the Browns drafted him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, Jordan Cameron caught 16 passes for 126 yards. Two years later, he had one of the best seasons by a Browns tight end in franchise history, catching 80 passes for 917 yards.

Future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates didn't even play college football.

Vannett's done his homework. The pre-draft process is far from over and there are plenty of more opportunities to impress and show is upside goes well beyond the numbers.

"I've got a lot of exciting opportunities in front of me," Vannett said. "I'm ready to take advantage of those."

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