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Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day Discusses Buckeyes’ 2020 NFL Draft Success

By April 26, 2020 (6:00 pm)Football

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day spent roughly 30 minutes on a teleconference with reporters on Sunday morning, at which time he discussed the Buckeyes’ 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The following is a brief recap of what he had to say:

  • Asked if he was surprised by former cornerback Damon Arnette’s selection with the No. 19 overall pick, Day said he was not. “I was more surprised that leading up to it that people had projected him in the second round.” Add the Las Vegas Raiders are “getting a mature guy who competed at a high level” last season while playing with a cast on his hand.
  • Day pointed out that Arnette and former wide receiver Terry McLaurin’s decisions to return to school for a fifth-season shows it can be a good thing. “I think Damon is now ready.”
  • Day believes this coronavirus pandemic will have an impact on next year’s draft, whether it’s through player development or just the amount of players who leave school earlier. “I think that not having spring ball and then, based on how much we lose this summer, will have an effect because I think one of our big areas we’re proud of in our development is what goes on in the weight room.”
  • Day said the draft is a testament to what Ohio State does on the recruiting trail and in terms of development once kids get on campus. “If we can keep enhancing that, the future is going to be good.”
  • Day said Ohio State doesn’t recruit prospects based on stars. “At the end of the day, rankings don’t mean anything once you get here.”
  • Day said former offensive tackle Branden Bowen is an NFL-caliber talent, and believes he’ll make the most of his opportunity as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers. “He’s going to make it count.”
  • Day said several NFL teams asked to see film of former cornerback Jeff Okudah’s against Ohio State’s wide receivers in practice.
  • Day said he hopes to turn Ohio State into QBU. “When I first got here, it wasn’t something that had really been done before. Really took it on myself as a challenge.” Added every position group should try to become the best unit in the nation in terms of draft status and production.
  • Day said the key to having a successful program is to have a good balance of talented players who will only stay for three years before leaving for the NFL and fifth-year seniors who bring experience and maturity to the locker room.
  • Day noted they still have not heard about wide receiver C.J. Saunders’ request for a sixth year of eligibility.
  • Asked if former running back J.K. Dobbins made a mistake by leaving early and then being selected late in the second round, Day noted that’s just how it works in terms of teams finding the right fit. “I think J.K. felt like it was his time.” Added the Baltimore Ravens are a great organization. “He’s got his opportunity. He’s going to make it work.”
  • Day said he didn’t understand former wide receiver K.J. Hill’s slip to the seventh round. “All he does is get open and catch the ball. I don’t get that one at all.” Believes the Los Angeles Chargers got a steal. “I think a lot of guys missed on him. I’ve never seen anybody be able to cover KJ Hill.”
  • Day plans to put quarterback Justin Fields in a position to win the Heisman Trophy and then be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. In return, he hopes Fields can lead the Buckeyes to a national championship. “A lot of things have to go right, too.”
  • Day said every college tells recruits they’re going to come in and play right away, but believes Ohio State is very honest about their path to playing time. He also hopes kids choose the Buckeyes “for all the right reasons,” not just because they perceive it to be a path to the NFL.
  • Day doesn’t expect to have any conversations about Fields’ NFL future until next season in complete.

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