Skip to main content

Ohio State Football: 2023 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch for the Buckeyes

C.J. Stroud. Ohio State Buckeyes Football

Quarterback C.J. Stroud is just one potential first-round pick Ohio State could produce in next year's draft

Congratulations to the six players from Ohio State who were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Garrett Wilson (New York Jets, 10th overall) and Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints, 11th) were selected in the first round, while their now-former teammates were selected on days 2 and 3.

2023 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch: ACC I Big 12 I Big Ten I Pac-12 I SEC

Even though the NFL draft has concluded, NFL scouts and personnel people are already hard at work evaluating talent for the 2023 NFL Draft.  Below are six Buckeyes (in alphabetical order) who seem likely to be heavily scrutinized over the next year for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Zach Harrison, Sr., DE

Harrison contemplated coming out for the 2022 NFL Draft but decided to return to Ohio State for his upcoming senior season.  Harrison has collected 9.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss in his Buckeyes career.  With a strong campaign, Harrison could position himself to be an early-round selection next spring.

Paris Johnson Jr., Jr., OT

Johnson will come into the 2022 season tasked with manning the critical left tackle position, protecting teammate C.J. Stroud's blindside. Johnson started at right guard for the Buckeyes in 2021. With premier offensive linemen such a hot commodity, a strong performance in 2022 could move Johnson to the top of NFL draft boards for teams coveting a left tackle.

Josh Proctor, Sr., S

Proctor is coming off of a leg injury; Proctor sustained his in the second week of the 2021 season. He took part in spring practice in a limited capacity and is expected to be ready to go this fall. Proctor is being counted on to help stabilize the revamped secondary under new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

Lathan Ransom, Jr., S

Ransom is someone else to keep an eye on. A serious leg injury he suffered in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day kept him out of spring practice. He is expected to be ready to go by the time the season starts, but the team will probably be extra cautious before clearing Ransom to play.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jr., WR

As high as Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave went in this year's draft, it's possible that Smith-Njigba goes even earlier in the 2023 NFL Draft. Not only is he coming off of a campaign that saw him set new school single-season records for receptions (95) and yards (1,606), among others, as a sophomore, he also established a new single-game FBS record for yards with 347 as part of his monster (also had 3 TDs on 15 catches) Rose Bowl performance.

C.J. Stroud, So., QB

In this yea's draft, the available quarterbacks waited a considerable amount of time to be selected. If Stroud has another Heisman finalist-type season and declares for the 2023 NFL Draft as expected, he shouldn't have to wait very long to hear his name called next spring. He could even end up being the No. 1 overall pick. Remember, last season was his first as the Buckeyes' starting quarterback.

Bonus:  Cameron Brown, Sr. CB

As has already been mentioned, Ohio State's secondary is going through changes both in terms of scheme and personnel. Brown will be expected to man one of the cornerback spots for the Buckeyes and a strong conclusion to his time in Columbus could pay off in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Podcast: Jordan Addison Enters the Portal, 2022 NFL Draft Reaction, Looking Ahead to the 2023 QB Class, and More

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is podcasting for Buckeye Scoop. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.