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Northeast Ohio natives help headline Ohio State's Pro Day


COLUMBUS, Ohio — **Northeast Ohio was well represented at Ohio State's Pro Day.

Almost 20 NFL Draft hopefuls worked out Thursday afternoon at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center as all 32 teams across the league, including the Browns, evaluated their every move. It's also group that was headlined by local natives in cornerback Denzel Ward (Macedonia, Nordonia High School), guard/center Billy Price (Youngstown, Austintown Fitch), linebackers Jerome Baker (Cleveland, Benedictine) and Chris Worley (Cleveland, Glenville).

— Ward, widely regarded as the draft best cornerback, is expected to be the first Ohio State player drafted and continue what's been a recent trend of Buckeye defensive backs selected in the first round. Much like at the league's annual scouting combine earlier this month, Ward showed off his speed, quickness and explosiveness at Pro Day.

— Price, who starred at both center and guard for Ohio State, is among the nation's top offensive linemen despite a torn pectoral muscle that happened while bench pressing at the combine. Price, who had surgery earlier this month to repair the damage, was in a sling at Pro Day but stressed he should be ready for training camp. He's also confident the injury won't affect his draft stock. "All I can do right now is sit down with teams and explain the mental side of things," said Price, who's projected to be a late first-round pick. "Show my mental capacity, show what I can do, and how much information I can process."

— Baker, the Benedictine star, is considered one of the most athletic linebackers in the draft and could be a second-round pick after two solid seasons with the Buckeyes. Baker, who ran a 4.53-second 40 in Indianapolis, believes he has the skills to excel as a modern-day linebacker. "My skill fits any team, any defense. I can mold my game to it. I feel my skill set is very different from a lot of linebackers. I can hit you, but I can also run. I can pretty much do it all. That's just the player I am," said Baker, who added his 40 time — while impressive for a linebacker — doesn't do his "game speed" justice. "I can definitely chase down any running back in any uniform. If you question my speed, I can always give you a ball and let you run and see if I catch you."

— Worley, a former high school/college teammate of Saints cornerback and Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore, was a captain last season and played all three linebacker positions for the Buckeyes. He finished fifth in tackles (56) despite missing three games with a foot injury. He's projected as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent who might be a solid special teams contributor early in his career. 

— Other notable Northeast Ohio natives at Ohio State's Pro Day included defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle (Elyria) and safety Erick Smith (Glenville).

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