During the last two seasons, center Luke Wypler and tackle Dawand Jones shared the offensive line at Ohio State.
Although both opted to enter the 2023 NFL Draft and begin their professional careers, Jones and Wypler ultimately landed on the Cleveland Browns, remaining on the same offensive front at the next level. Jones was selected by the Browns in the fourth round of the draft with the No. 111 overall pick while Wypler slid to the sixth round, ultimately getting scooped up by Cleveland with the No. 190 selection.
The selection of the offensive line duo marked the first time the Browns drafted a pair of Ohio State teammates since 1965. Wypler and Jones were also joined by a pair of undrafted Buckeyes in Cleveland, as the Browns scooped safeties Ronnie Hickman and Tanner McCalister through the free agency market.
With Wypler in tow, Jones emphasized his excitement to be reunited with his Ohio State offensive line partner.
“He’s smart. He’s a master of the game,” Jones said. “We shared a great bond at Ohio State. Just to hear his name called, picked as a Brown, it was like, ‘Let’s go!’ It was like an ecstatic moment.”
Jones and Wypler started on a pair of top-tier offenses at Ohio State, with the duo helping the Buckeyes carve out the No. 1 overall offense in 2021 — averaging 561.5 yards and 45.7 points per game, both the top mark in the nation — and the No. 2 scoring offense in 2022, with OSU scoring 44.2 points per game.
While aiding Ohio State’s offense to a pair of dominant seasons, Jones and Wypler also built up their NFL Draft stocks, with both declaring for the draft following the Buckeyes’ exit from the College Football Playoff in a 42-41 defeat to Georgia in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31, 2022. Although both were projected to find their NFL homes on the second day of the draft by multiple outlets, Jones and Wypler each endured lengthy draft slides, waiting until the third day of the draft before being selected.
In the case of Jones, several rumors regarding his weight and desire to play football at the next level were pointed to as potential reasons for his draft slide. Now with the Browns, Jones hopes to put those rumors to rest.
“I definitely feel like I had to do that a lot in college to prove that I love football,” Jones said. “I got that question asked in almost every interview, do I love football? And I told almost every team, turn on the tape and you can just see it on my film. I play with that anger and aggression, it just comes from the heart. You just don’t want nobody to touch the quarterback and that’s my main goal.”
Wypler also had Jones’ back, noting that his former teammate has a deep love for football.
“I know what kind of person he is,” Wypler said. “He’s a great person, loves football. So for me, I know what kind of teammate he is and what kind of player he is, and the Browns got really lucky to be able to get him.”
Wypler’s slide was also largely unexpected, but he emphasized that he’s already moved past it after the Browns’ rookie mini-camp opened on Friday.
“I think I motivate myself. I kind of let that be what it is,” Wypler said. “I have a lot of motivation inside of me. I’m very self-motivated, and those outside factors don’t really bother me too much.”