I think it was quite clear that Ohio State has recruited and produced some great athletes during the Urban Meyer era.
Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe even tweeted Saturday questioning if there was any slow skill players coming out of the powerhouse football program.
Sharpe was referring to Ohio State wide receivers Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon who each had great workouts during the wide receiver portion of the NFL Combine on Saturday.
Ohio State has produced out some draft picks in three of the last four NFL Drafts (Devin Smith in 2015, Michael Thomas in 2016 and Curtis Samuel in 2017) and it’s expected at least two of the three receivers will be drafted with Dixon potentially being a late round pick but will certainly get a shot in training camp.
Parris Campbell tied for the fastest 40-yard dash on Saturday with a 4.31 which is also the second fastest by a wide receiver in the last ten years behind only Darrius Heyward-Bey who ran a 4.30 in 2009. The other receiver who matched Campbell on Saturday was UMass’ Andy Isabella who is from Mayfield, Ohio.
Campbell also displayed his athleticism with a 40-inch vertical jump which was fifth among wide receivers and an 11’3″ broad jump which ranked third in the position group.
The Akron, Ohio product had a solid career as a Buckeye with 1,978 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns in four seasons. In 2018, he had 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns which were among the best in all of college football.
McLaurin backed up his strong performance at the Senior Bowl a month ago with a 4.35 forty-yard time, a 37.5 inch vertical and a 10’5″ broad jump. His forty time ranked among the top five alongside Campbell while his vertical was tied for 13th and his broad jump was ninth at the position.
Both Campbell and McLaurin are projected to go in Day 2 of the draft (Rounds 2-3) and much like Curtis Samuel has found a role in the Carolina Panthers offense as an offensive weapon, they’ll both find and carve a role wherever they end up come late April.
Johnnie Dixon may have the hardest journey ahead out of the three Buckeye receivers but he turned in a good workout and scouts will definitely give him a closer look as the draft process carries on the next several weeks.
Dixon posted a 4.41 forty-yard time with a 37.5 vertical and a 10′ broad jump.
While he has the speed and athleticism to play in the NFL, scouting reports suggest that his size and lack of route running will force him to the slot position. Perhaps if could’ve had another season under the direction of wide receiver coach Brian Hartline, his NFL chances would be greater.
I do think that because he is a solid athlete and the fact he’s played special teams at Ohio State, he’ll get a chance with a team as an undrafted free agent or as a late-round pick.