Ever since they declared for the NFL draft, Ohio State defensive back Marshon Lattimore and safety Malik Hooker have consistently been ranked among the top 10 prospects, according to draft experts. That has not changed. The status of another member of the 2016 Buckeye secondary, Gareon Conley, however has improved dramatically. Conley--a month ago--was considered a second round pick, with the potential of sneaking into round one. Now, if you believe ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. Conley is not only a first rounder--but has climbed into the top 15.
Kiper released his latest mock draft on Wednesday, and has Conley going 14th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles. If Kiper's prediction turns out to be accurate, the Buckeyes would have three players taken in the top 14. Kiper has Lattimore going fifth to Tennessee and Hooker seventh to the L.A. Chargers.
Conley's rise comes after he starred at the NFL combine. He and the other draft eligible Buckeyes will welcome scouts, coaches and GM's to Columbus Thursday, for Ohio State's pro day. There's really not much more Conley, Lattimore and Hooker need to do--as their draft stocks are solid, however it is a big day for some other Buckeyes--in particular Dontre Wilson. The H-back/wide out was not invited to the NFL combine and a strong pro day might be enough to get him selected somewhere in the seven rounds. The importance of the day is obviously not lost on Wilson.
As for the Browns and the Bengals, Kiper has Cleveland taking Texas A&M defensive end Miles Garrett with the overall number 1 pick, and North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky at number 12. Kiper has the Bengals going with pass rushing linebacker Takkarist McKinley out of UCLA with the ninth pick.