There was a host of 2024 NFL Draft hopefuls playing in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday at “The Horseshoe.” The Penn State Nittany Lions roared into town undefeated in an attempt to finally get over the hump against a top-10 team on the road in the James Franklin era. Unfortunately, the Ohio State Buckeyes defense did not allow it.
Ohio State vs. Penn State NFL Draft Stock Report
Ohio State dominates the list of potential draft prospects that helped their status on Saturday against their nemesis, the Nittany Lions. However, PSU had a few standout performances themselves, even in a loss.
Marvin Harrison Jr. Cements Elite Status
There have been plenty of outstanding wide receivers to stride across the Ohio State campus in the past few seasons. Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are all outstanding talents, and each of them was a first-round pick. Yet, none of them hold a candle to Marvin Harrison Jr. — his talent is overwhelming.
The “generational” tag is overused. Every year or two, the next generational player comes through, but none of it is real. Myles Garrett was a generational prospect, even among all of the freak edge rushers we’ve seen cross that NFL Draft stage over the past decade. Harrison Jr. is on that same level. He is, for all intents and purposes, a flawless prospect.
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He has no weakness. The only thing keeping him from being a Madden Create-a-Player is that he’s only a hair over 200 pounds. The OSU WR’s only slight flaw was somewhat lackluster post-catch production. But he’s quelled those concerns beautifully in 2023.
His presence, especially without Emeka Egbuka off the field, was the reason Ohio State won the game. He was the Buckeyes’ offense.
Cade Stover Keeps Showing Up
After a two-touchdown performance a week ago, Cade Stover came up big once again in the absence of Egbuka. The large tight end affectionately nicknamed “Farmer Gronk” seems to make a big play or two in every single game.
The 6’4″, 250-pound TE likely won’t test as an elite athlete. At that position specifically, that likely means he’s resigned to being a late Day 2 pick at the earliest, despite being one of the very few TEs to actually produce at the Ohio State WR factory.
In the end, Stover feels like one of the strong pass catchers who can also survive in line that plays in the league for a decade as a starter, averaging somewhere between 400-800 yards in a season. There is a small group of elite talents at the position, but most guys fall in that middling range. And there is value in that because even that group is thin.
JT Tuimoloau Dominates Olu Fashanu in Second Half
Ohio State defensive end JT Tuimoloau was a highly rated recruit and lauded potential draft prospect over the summer. However, the big, strong, explosive defensive end has shown a lack of sharpness in his pass-rush repertoire throughout his collegiate career.
But he showed up in a big way against Penn State, and he did so against arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft class, Olu Fashanu. The PSU OT looked like the winner throughout the first 30 minutes, but Tuimoloau took it to him in the second half, which could help his draft stock while hurting Fashanu’s, particularly because Notre Dame OT Joe Alt had a great day against the OSU pass rushers.
Johnny Dixon Outshines Kalen King
Harrison Jr. had an outstanding game, and a lot of the work he did throughout came against Kalen King, Penn State’s cornerback who has garnered first-round attention since last season. However, even through cheating by way of pass interference and holding, he was unable to slow down Harrison Jr. He wasn’t even a speedbump.
Meanwhile, Johnny Dixon had a different experience. The Senior CB looked like the better cornerback of the duo today. He made multiple plays in coverage against Harrison Jr. The CB made the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watchlist over the summer; those scouts must have enjoyed his outing against Ohio State.
Scary Moment for Chop Robinson
Penn State EDGE Chop Robinson is one of the best pass rushers in the 2024 NFL Draft class. Although he is a bit traditionally undersized, his pass-rush repertoire is advanced, and he is the kind of explosive athlete that modern NFL fronts are looking for.
Unfortunately, an apparent blow to the head led to a scary few moments with Robinson on the ground. He left the field with a towel on his head after spending minutes on the ground, and eventually, a cart came to the sideline to transfer him back into the locker room.
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