Johnathan Hankins will have to wait until tonight to be part of the NFL draft.
Hankins, a defensive lineman from Ohio State who had been projected by several analysts to be a top-15 pick in December when he announced he would forego his senior season, was not one of the 32 players picked in the first round last night.
The next two rounds will be conducted tonight, and Hankins is expected to be one of the first names called. He wasn’t contacted late last night when the first round ended, but he had said a couple of days earlier he was braced for any eventuality.
“I am sure the best team that needs a man like me is going to pick me up,” Hankins said. “And I am going to be ready to play.”
It was the second straight year for Ohio State to be shut out in the first round. The Big Ten had only one player taken, center Travis Frederick of Wisconsin, who went to Dallas with the 31st pick.
But last year four Ohio State players were eventually drafted, and the Buckeyes are expected at least to match that number before the next six rounds are done today and Saturday.
Along with Hankins still available, some analysts late yesterday had Ohio State defensive lineman John Simon rising on the prospect rankings of several teams. Simon, the Big Ten defensive player of the year and the MVP of the unbeaten 2012 Buckeyes, had surgery almost three months ago for a shoulder injury.
Simon had to delay his workout for the NFL scouts and coaches, but he aced it in front of representatives from 12 teams at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on March 25. Among other things, Simon ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash, showing he perhaps does have the flexibility to play defensive end and linebacker in the NFL.
On the rise throughout the process has been offensive tackle Reid Fragel. He switched from tight end to tackle just over a year ago, and from midseason on was an outstanding performer for the Buckeyes. The latest projections see him going as high as the third round but probably the fourth.
Tight end-turned-receiver-turned-tight end Jake Stoneburner also could be one to watch for in the next several rounds. Though his production last season wasn’t what had been hoped for in coach Urban Meyer’s spread offense, Stoneburner had a sterling workout when Ohio State had its pro day in March. He caught all manner of passes from former Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.