COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State’s NFL hopefuls got one more chance to impress NFL personnel at the team’s pro day on Thursday.
A slew of NFL executives, coaches and evaluators were on hand to watch 17 former Buckeyes go through drills and interviews. Here are five observations from a star-studded event.
Ohio State draws a crowd
Ohio State’s pro day was once again a must-see event, with every NFL team in attendance to watch the Buckeyes work out. Here’s how the attendees broke down, according to Ohio State.
- 142 total NFL team personnel
- All 32 teams represented
- Five general managers
- Five head coaches
The five head coaches in attendance were Marvin Lewis of Cincinnati, Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh, Matt Patricia of Detroit, Mike Zimmer of Minnesota and Bill Belichick of New England. The Buckeyes also received a visit from Carolina Panthers defensive line coach Brady Hoke, who spent some time catching up with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer before pro day began.
Bill Belichick impresses Sam Hubbard
Belichick showed up to Ohio State wearing a Johns Hopkins lacrosse pullover, and he had his eye on another former lacrosse player. Belichick worked with the Ohio State defensive linemen in drills, and he also spent some time in between chatting with defensive end Sam Hubbard.
“It was an incredible experience,” Hubbard said. “We did some new drills that we’ve never done before, and even the second time doing them we got better. It was cool.
“He’s kind of like the Urban Meyer of the NFL. Big-time guys that are known for winning, and you want to do everything you can to show them you can contribute to their program.”
Teams eyeing Billy Price’s versatility
Much like Pat Elflein in 2016, Billy Price transitioned from guard to center for his final season of college football. Elflein won the starting center job for the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie, but Price hasn’t ruled out the possibility of going back to guard at the next level.
“I’ve heard (there’s interest in playing me at) both,” Price said. “I think it’s an opportunity with my flexibility and versatility to go into a franchise and be able to play at a high level at guard and be able to play at a high level at center. I’ve had both, because most of these teams have veteran centers. To be able to be groomed into it, it’s just a great opportunity for me.”
Price was an All-American at both positions for the Buckeyes and won the Rimington Trophy as a senior as the nation’s best center.
Brian Hartline helps out J.T. Barrett
With all of Ohio State’s receivers choosing to remain in school, the Buckeyes needed some help when it came to catching J.T. Barrett’s passes. Enter Brian Hartline, the former Ohio State and NFL wide receiver who’s now an offensive quality control staffer for the Buckeyes.
“We were running a little low on receivers, so he had to deal with me,” Hartline said. “They told me on Tuesday, and we were able to throw a little bit on Wednesday. So, I told Coach Meyer that a month’s notice would have been appreciated. But it was done and a good blessing.”
According to Cleveland.com reporter Tim Bielik, Barrett completed 43 of the 52 passes he threw at pro day.
Billy Price’s injury not a concern
Price suffered an incomplete pectoral tear while doing bench press reps at the NFL combine in February, and that injury not only ended his combine but also kept him from competing at Ohio State’s pro day.
However, Price doesn’t expect to miss any time when it comes to the NFL.
“It’s not going to be an issue,” he said. “I should be good by June, full strength again and choking dudes out by the time training camp comes.”