Six different Ohio State Buckeyes were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Three of them went in the first 20 picks (QB C.J. Stroud, second; OT Paris Johnson Jr., sixth; WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, 20th), while the others (DE Zach Harrison, OT Dawand Jones, C Luke Wypler) went on Days 2 and 3.
Even though Ohio State will be losing quality starters off that 2022 team, NFL scouts and personnel will be frequenting the football offices in Columbus. There is no shortage of talent for the Buckeyes for the 2023 college football season, and below are five names who are expected to go early in the 2024 NFL Draft.
It is not hyperbolic to state that Harrison, son of the Hall of Famer, would have been the top wide receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft if he had been eligible — or that Harrison would have been among the top 10 selections. Harrison exploded onto the scene with his performance in the 2022 Rose Bowl versus Utah, and he built upon it with a sensational 2022 campaign with 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. Barring injury, Harrison will be among the first players selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Emeka Egbuka, WR
Harrison's teammate is also among the top wide receivers in the nation. Listed at 6'1", 205 pounds, Egbuka had 74 receptions for 1151 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022. Egbuka is also a dangerous kickoff return man, as he came ever so close to breaking a kickoff return for a touchdown as a true freshman in 2021. Egbuka is also projected as a first-round draft choice for the 2023 NFL Draft.
While not nearly as flashy as his offensive teammates Harrison and Egbuka, Jackson is a key component for Ohio State's offensive success, helping to anchor the Ohio State offensive line. Jackson played in spot duty as a true freshman in 2021, then emerged as a starter as the left guard on the offensive line. Jackson will have another year of eligibility after the 2023 season, which Ohio State coaches and fans will certainly hope that he will entertain using in Columbus.
JT Tuimoloau, DE
Tuimoloau had a game for the ages last season versus Penn State in 2022 — he intercepted two passes, one of which he returned for a game-clinching touchdown, registered two sacks, forced and recovered a fumble, deflected a pass that was intercepted, and racked up another tackle for a loss. While Tuimoloau did not have those same dominant performances throughout the 2022 season, he certainly has the potential to emerge as one of the best defensive linemen in the Big Ten and could be a high draft choice in the 2024 NFL Draft. Tuimoloau will have eligibility after the 2023 season, if he decides to use it.
Denzel Burke, CB
This is somewhat of a projection, as Burke had injury issues that led to struggles during the 2022 season. The former four-star recruit emerged as a starter at cornerback as a true freshman in 2021. Coming off a strong spring performance, it would not be surprising if Burke declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, if he can recapture his form from his freshman campaign.
— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is writing and podcasting forLand-Grant Holy Land. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.
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