COLUMBUS, OHIO— As Ezekiel Elliott walked into the fieldhouse at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Friday for Ohio State’s Pro Day, he wasn’t surprised to see a surplus of NFL coaches, scouts and front office members lining the turf.
In fact, it was exactly the scene that Elliott expected.
“It’s Ohio State,” Elliott said. “It’s the atmosphere you’re going to get when you come to a place like this.”
The aforementioned atmosphere included over 140 NFL staffers and a massive media contingent set to watch Elliott and 21 other draft-ready Buckeyes strut their stuff.
While Elliott only ran routes and caught passes on Friday after posting impressive numbers at the NFL Combine, he still wanted to prove to teams that he’s a top-of-the-draft back.
“I think I show versatility at the running back position,” Elliott said. “I’m a guy that you can leave on the field all three downs.”
Though Elliott might’ve been set for a first-day selection prior to Friday’s Pro Day, quarterback Cardale Jones and wide receiver Braxton Miller had a bit more to prove.
Jones, who pulled up with a hamstring injury on a 40-yard dash at the combine, threw a scripted schedule of passes to an assortment of receivers.
While he received rave reviews from those that watched him, Jones was his own toughest critic.
“I thought I had like a B+,” Jones said. “I thought I missed a couple of passes.”
Jones wasn’t completely satisfied with his effort, but Miller was thrilled about his own performance.
After posting a 4.5 40-yard dash at the combine, Miller was told that he clocked in with a faster, 4.35-second 40 on Friday.
While he was happy with the time-- even throwing a fist in the air when asked about the attempt-- Miller was left wondering what happened in Indianapolis, considering he’s never run a 4.5 40 in his life.
“I don’t think it was a change. I just think the time was weird,” Miller said, when asked what the difference in the time was. “I think I ran faster at the combine than I did here.”
Whatever the reason for his quicker time, Miller will certainly take it as he looks to catapult his way to the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
In addition to the trio mentioned above, top-tier draft prospects such as defensive end Joey Bosa, linebacker Darron Lee, cornerback Eli Apple, wide receiver Michael Thomas, offensive tackle Taylor Decker and safety Vonn Bell also went through drills at the WHAC, trying to solidify a first-round spot.
Each of those players, along with Miller and Elliott, has a legitimate chance to be a first-round pick, giving the Buckeyes the possibility of a record-breaking eight first-round selections in April’s draft.
Miller, who watched the other seven players develop from a rather unique seat in 2014, understands the history that could occur and, like Elliott, wouldn’t be surprised if it does happen.
“It’s special, man,” Miller said. “You’ve got to cherish these type of moments because they don’t come around that often.”
Browns bring Brown, Berry to Columbus
The Browns, the team with the No. 2 overall selection and the No. 32 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, seemed to be quite interested in the events unfolding in Columbus on Friday.
With Bosa as a legitimate option with the No. 2 pick and just about any of the others as an option at 32, Cleveland’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Sashi Brown, and Vice President of Player Personnel, Andrew Berry, along with at least two other scouts, were in attendance and were paying very close attention.
Browns head coach Hue Jackson was supposed to be watching the Buckeyes, but was sidelined by a bug that kept him under the weather.
Though the Browns’ officials stayed mostly mum on the day, Thomas confirmed that he met with the team in Columbus, while Jones had a brief meeting with a Browns scout.
Miller said he wasn’t sure if he had a meeting with the Browns scheduled, but didn’t rule it out as a possibility.
Former Browns' offensive coordinator John DeFilippo was in attendance, as was former Browns' interim head coach, Terry Robiskie, and former Browns' general manager, Mike Lombardi.
For all of your Browns news and updates from Berea, follow Hayden Grove on Twitter: @H_Grove.