2014 Ohio State Pro Day: Notes and Quotes

Jack Mewhort (right) went head-to-head with former teammate Marcus Hall in offensive line drills Friday. (Photo: Greg Bartram — USA Today Sports)

Kenny Guiton: The Next Matt Cassel?

It isn’t often that a collegiate backup quarterback gets selected in the NFL draft, but OSU’s Kenny Guiton has a legitimate opportunity. While his tape is limited and there might not be anything particularly exceptional about him physically, he is a decent downfield passer with good athleticism.

Perhaps the most famous instance of collegiate backup quarterback turned NFL starter in recent years is that of Matt Cassel, who went from backing up Matt Leinart at USC to backing up Tom Brady, and eventually starting for a season for the New England Patriots when Brady went down with injury.

Asked by a reporter Friday if he sees Cassel’s story as an inspiration, Guiton didn’t shy away from the comparison, and he included the player Cassel once stepped in for as well.

“I look at guys like (Cassel), I look at guys like Brady; that’s one of the biggest idols I have right now because he was a guy not big going in,” Guiton said. “Hard work took him to the top, and that’s one thing I want to do.”

Those comparisons won’t be going for anywhere for Guiton. The signal-caller told reporters that his one individual workout currently lined up is with none other than the Patriots, and is scheduled for March 26.

As for his performance Friday, Guiton was mostly accurate throwing the ball downfield, and said he was pleased with how his pro day went.

“It’s always, two or three throws you wish you could have back, behind somebody or just too far,” Guiton said. “I wish I could have done a little better but at the same time, I’m happy with what happened.”

Offensive Line “Brothers” Take the Field Together One More Time

Offensive linemen are typically characterized to be the closest-knit position group on a football team, and that certainly seemed to be the case for the 2013 Ohio State football team, in part because its line was led by four seniors. Those four seniors—left tackle Jack Mewhort, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Corey Linsley and right guard Marcus Hall—all participated in Friday’s pro day.

In terms of those four players’ athleticism, there was a clear hierarchy Friday. While Mewhort and Linsley both good explosion into sound technique out of their stances, Norwell looked to be a good step slower than each of them, while the sluggish Hall looked two steps slower than even Norwell.

Mewhort, the only sure draft pick of the group, only participated in on-field positional drills after running through a full workout at the combine.

Interestingly, Mewhort’s day on the field included some work with snapping the football. While Mewhort displayed the versatility to play tackle and guard at OSU, he never played center. I asked Mewhort if he could see himself playing center at the next level.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Mewhort said.

For Mewhort, the pro day was an opportunity for him to do some new drills, after the combine before that provided an opportunity for him to impress in a different capacity than he might have at the Senior Bowl.

“My versatility, that’s something I got to prove at the Senior Bowl. Then the combine I got to compete and do all the drills and stuff,” Mewhort said. “(Pro day) was just kind of putting the icing on the cake, just showing some more position drills, and I got to snap a little bit which was cool, and it was a good day.”

Mewhort is a likely mid-round pick, while Linsley is a possible late-round pick but no sure bet to be drafted, and Norwell and Hall are both likely to hit undrafted free agency. Yet despite their uneven draft stocks, Mewhort, Norwell and Hall all said Friday that it benefitted all of them to compete against one another.

“We’re brothers,” Mewhort said. “It was cool to be out there one last time competing with each other and I think when we’re all out there doing it together, it makes you go a little bit harder.”

Norwell said “it made things a lot easier” to have Mewhort, Linsley and Hall participating alongside him.

“With Marcus, Corey and Jack out there … everybody’s got each other’s back,” Norwell said. “It was great working out with those guys.”

Others to Work Out

Placekicker Drew Basil and long snapper George Makridis were both present for workouts Friday, while Jamie Meder, a defensive tackle from Ashland University, also worked out in a separate session after the OSU players had completed their drills.

Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley attended Ohio State pro day Friday. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

Who Was Whaley Watching?

Despite being at Friday’s event, I unfortunately know the answer to that question as well as you do (unless you have information as to who the Bills general manager was watching at OSU, then I don’t know the answer as well as you).

That said, it’s not hard to figure out why Whaley made the trip to Columbus. Nearly all of the players who worked out Friday at least have a realistic shot of fighting their way onto an NFL roster through training camp, including players who represent potential need areas on the offensive line and at safety.

Of the four projected early-round selections, two who would make a great deal of sense as Bills targets are Shazier and Mewhort. As aforementioned, Shazier is well worth a first-round pick, but if he suffers a surprising slide to the No. 41 overall pick, the Bills would be smart to pounce and add a much-needed impact player alongside middle linebacker Kiko Alonso. Mewhort, on the other hand, could project to playing either left guard or right tackle, and could be an offensive line upgrade at good value if available with Buffalo’s third-round pick (No. 73).

With good reason, every NFL team sent at least one representative to keep an eye on OSU players Friday, but the Bills wouldn’t have sent their general manager if they weren’t seriously interested in drafting at least one Buckeyes player.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Andrew Norwell, Bradley Roby, C.J. Barnett, Carlos Hyde, Chris Fields, Christian Bryant, Corey Brown, Corey Linsley, Doug Whaley, Drew Basil, Etienne Sabino, George Makridis, Jack Mewhort, Jamie Meder, Jordan Hall, Kenny Guiton, Marcus Hall, Notes and Quotes, Ohio State, Philly Brown, Pitt Brown, Pro Day Spotlight, Pro Days, Ryan Shazier

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