Scouting the Big 10: Ohio State

A solid season on the football field culminated with a banner number of Buckeyes being selected in last April's NFL draft, including three during the first round. Graduation took its toll on the roster so the outlook for 2004 is not as bright either on the field or for the draft of '05 as the top talent on the roster resides in the ranks of the underclassmen.

Were one senior to break into the draft's first day from the offensive side of the ball it would be tackle Ivan Douglas.  An athletic lineman, Douglas was a solid prospect who looked like a potential NFL blocker until he was forced to redshirt last season.  Douglas possesses both the size and underlying skills to play at the next level but must get his career back on track after sitting out 2004.  Another Buckeye lineman with great upside is Robert  Sims.  Like Douglas, he is a terrific athlete that combines strength as well as a leverage blocking to keep defenders from the action.  Sims is also quick footed and adjusts well to oncoming defenders, looking completely comfortable in space.  Only a junior, he is already one of the more highly rated linemen in the nation.  Senior fullback Branden Joe is a competitive lead blocker with a burst of speed and the ability to open running lanes for feature ball carriers yet must add both bulk and strength to his frame for any real NFL consideration.  Lydell Ross is a ball carrier we liked before Maurice Clarett arrived on the scene.  Ross is strong on the inside yet also displays the cutting skills to set up defenders and make them miss.  Initially quick, he displays both running instinct and vision carrying the ball.  Since he'll no longer have to look over his shoulder, Ross could have the breakout season this fall many have been waiting for and as a result make a big move up draft boards.  Finally, redshirt sophomore Santonio Holmes could be the next great wide out the come from the Ohio State program.

The pickings are slim on defense, an unusual occurrence in Columbus.  Senior defense end Simon Fraser and cornerback Dustin Fox are both hard-working competitive prospects that play with great intelligence.  Neither possess the top athleticism or upside potential to be anything other then late round picks in next April's draft.  Junior safety Nate Sally offers the natural skill and abilities to be a very good centerfielder in the future.


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