On Thursday night, the smokescreens and rumors will end.
The final days before the NFL draft typically include reports of players climbing or sliding down draft boards, often with little substance behind them. So it goes with the two Ohio State players — defensive end Nick Bosa and quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. — who are locks to be taken when the league conducts the first round in Nashville, Tennessee.
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The uncertainty with Bosa might have less to do with him than with the player the Arizona Cardinals reportedly are mulling with the first overall pick. Early in the draft process, Bosa was considered the likely top pick. Then Arizona grew enamored of Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma.
Most mock drafts have the Cardinals taking Murray, but it’s no sure thing. If the Cardinals do, San Francisco is expected to take Bosa with the second pick.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“I think right now Bosa at 2 makes sense because (the 49ers) need pass rushers,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on a conference call Monday. “They brought in Dee Ford. They had DeForest Buckner step up with 12 sacks last year. Just keep it going (with Bosa).”
Haskins’ destination is tougher to peg. The New York Giants’ interest in Haskins with the No. 6 pick reportedly has cooled. Is that true or merely draft obfuscation? The Bengals, who have the No. 11 pick, could consider Haskins as the heir apparent to Andy Dalton. Washington, which has the 15th pick, is reportedly interested, as well.
“If you listen to the rumor mill, the Giants aren’t going to take him at 6,” Kiper said. “Well, are you going to end up at 15 with the Redskins? I want to see if the Redskins try to move up to acquire his services or wait to see if he’ll fall in their lap. I’d say the ceiling would be 6, and I don’t see that necessarily happening right now. The lowest he could fall would be in that 15 range.”
There’s an outside chance that another Buckeyes player could be taken Thursday. Receiver Parris Campbell’s speed and improved receiving skills are enticing. But he probably will be taken Friday when the second and third rounds are held. Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and receiver Terry McLaurin are also likely Friday selections, as guard Michael Jordan could be.Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter
Cornerback Kendall Sheffield, running back Mike Weber, receiver Johnnie Dixon and offensive tackle Isaiah Prince probably will be taken Saturday in rounds 4-7.
This can be an anxious time for players awaiting their next home. McLaurin said that the work he put in before the draft has given him peace of mind. He impressed at the Senior Bowl and ran well at the NFL combine.
“I don’t really feel I have a lot of reason to be nervous because I’ve helped myself as much as I think I can,” he said from his family’s home in Indianapolis. “I’ve done well in all the legs of the race, if you want to call it that. Now it’s more of a waiting game.”