Denzel Ward arrived in Dallas with his family on Tuesday, his NFL dream on the verge of becoming reality.

“It’s exciting,” Ward told The Dispatch. “This is what I’ve been working for since I was a kid.”

Ward is likely to be the only Ohio State player taken in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. He is considered a lock to go in the top half of the first round, with most mock drafts having him as a top-10 pick.

The football world may be obsessed with mock drafts and trying to match player with team, but Ward isn’t.

“I don’t really follow that at all because you never know until the day of the draft,” Ward said. “So I just stay off of that stuff and will wait to see on Thursday.”

Ward said he has visited with Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Miami to meet with team representatives. Mock drafts have Ward going as high as No. 6 to Indianapolis and at worst to Green Bay at No. 14.

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“I don’t really have an idea,” he said. “To be honest, it really doesn’t matter where I go. Wherever I go, I’m going to be playing football. I don’t really have too much anxiety about where I’m going to go.

“Whichever team picks me, whether that’s early in the round or later in the round, I’m going to be happy.”

Ward would become the fourth Ohio State cornerback in three years to be taken in the first round. Marshon Lattimore, who became the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year with New Orleans, and Oakland’s Gareon Conley were taken in 2017. Eli Apple went 10th to the New York Giants in 2016.

“Those guys are like my brothers,” Ward said. “I talk to them on a daily basis. They gave me a lot of advice on what to expect. It has been very helpful because they’ve obviously been through it.”

An introvert, Ward never sought the limelight at Ohio State, even as his play made him hard to ignore. The attention he has attracted during the draft process hasn’t changed him.

“With all the recognition and everything that’s going on, I feel it’s tested me in staying humble,” he said. “It’s not really a challenge because I feel I’ve always been a humble person, but very confident in who I am.”

Ohio State has had multiple first-round draft picks the past two years, but unless there is a draft-day surprise, other Buckeyes will have to wait until Friday or Saturday. Center Billy Price has an outside shot at being a first-rounder.

“That’s out of my control,” the Rimington Award winner said on Tuesday. “There’s prestige around it, but it’s not going to make or break my career, being a first-round draft pick.”

Price’s chances took a hit when he partially tore a pectoral muscle during the NFL combine bench-press.

“I don’t live in what-ifs,” he said. “I do what I do. I put the film out there and whatever team is attracted the most, it’ll be a good fit.”

Price said he is ahead of schedule in his rehab. He did push-ups on Tuesday for the first time since the injury and said he is on track to be fully healed by June.

Defensive end Sam Hubbard had some possible buzz as a first-day pick, but that seems to have subsided based on most credible mock drafts. But with Tyquan Lewis, Jamarco Jones, Jalyn Holmes, Jerome Baker and others, this will be a deep Ohio State draft class.

“There’s a ton of depth,” Price said. “From the top pick all the way to the guys who some are saying are going to go undrafted … we’re going to have great careers because of our character and discipline and having the work ethic it’s going to take.”