Feeling undervalued, Weber ready to prove himself
INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Weber arrived at the NFL combine with a chip on his shoulder.
That’s nothing new for Weber. Expected to fill the shoes of Ezekiel Elliott, Weber spent the last two years of his Ohio State career sharing time with J.K. Dobbins.
He enters the NFL draft considered a second-day pick at best.
“I feel I’m being a little slept on right now,” Weber said Thursday at the NFL combine. “That’s something I can’t control. All I can control is to come out here and do my best and show teams why I should be at the top.”
After running for 1,096 yards as a redshirt freshman, Weber was slowed by a hamstring injury in 2017 but had a solid 2018 season. Still, his numbers suffered (954 rushing yards, 5.5 per carry) as the Buckeyes rode their passing game most of the year.
He believes his shared workload will benefit him as he enters the NFL.
“Right now, I think it was a plus,” Weber said. “At the time, you don’t like it. At the time, you want the ball and to show the world what you can do. But I feel like now a lot of teams are looking at guys with less (wear) on the tire.”
Michael Jordan said he was torn about whether to return for his senior season at Ohio State. The offensive lineman didn’t decide to declare for the NFL draft until after the Rose Bowl.
“First and foremost, I love my brothers so much,” he said. “Making that decision was so hard, but at the end of the day it was always my dream to play in the NFL.
“I feel like since I started for 41 consecutive games, I had a lot of experience under my belt. I felt confident in myself enough to go to the next level.”
A natural guard, he played center last year because that was where he was needed most.
He had occasional struggles, but now he is glad he has that experience as proof of his versatility and unselfishness.
“I think adding that to my tool bag is definitely good for me,” he said.
Jordan said Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa told him that he would have returned to guard if he had come back.
“Of course, they tried to sway me,” he said, “but at the end of the day coach Day and coach Stud, they care about me, too, more than just football. So they said ‘If you feel ready, you go ahead and do it.’ I thank those guys for that.”
Jordan is projected as a possible second- or third-round pick.