Ohio State football pumps out NFL players at a rate few schools can rival. The Buckeyes have more NFL Draft picks since 2000 than any other school with 157. They also hold the record for most first-rounders in NFL history with 87.

The Buckeyes once again have all the makings of a national championship team in 2022. Ohio State has the second-best odds to win the title, trailing only Alabama. A team doesn’t get that much attention without a wealth of NFL talent, and the Buckeyes have it in spades.

Many OSU players will hear their names called very early at the 2023 NFL Draft in April. In particular, these three Ohio State Football players are all but locks to go in the first round.

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Ohio State Football 2023 NFL Draft Prospects

3. Paris Johnson Jr. 

Quarterbacks steal all the headlines in football, but getting someone to protect them is just as important, if not more so. Teams are paying offensive linemen such as Trent Williams north of $20 million annually to keep their QBs upright. The big guys aren’t flashy, but they’re some of the most important players on any team.

Johnson could be the first offensive lineman off the board in next year’s draft. He helped the Buckeyes become the top total offense in the nation with 561.5 yards per game in 2021. The junior earned a second-team all-Big Ten selection in 2021, and should improve more in 2022.

With his exceptional play at the college level, Johnson should hear his name very early on at the 2023 NFL Draft.

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2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Ohio State football has a long line of elite receivers to its name. Michael Thomas and Terry McLaurin are two of the latest ex-Buckeyes to become stars in the NFL. Smith-Njigba looks to add his name to the list of elite pass catchers to come out of Columbus in 2023.

The third-year wideout exploded onto the scene in 2021 with 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. He had a performance for the ages in the Rose Bowl against Utah, catching 15 passes for 347 yards and three scores. His 347 yards set an all-time bowl game record in the NCAA.

The Buckeyes had two first-round receivers on their roster last year in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. Smith-Njigba caught 25 more passes than Wilson and 30 more than Olave. He also had over 500 more yards than both of them and averaged more yards per reception.

Smith-Njigba will be the clear number one option for Ohio State football in 2022 following Wilson and Olave’s departures. In the upcoming season, he’ll prove himself to be the clear number one receiver in his draft class.

1. C.J. Stroud

Stroud enters the 2022 season as candidate for most major awards after a stellar freshman campaign. He finished the 2021 season with 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns, both top five in the nation. He earned numerous awards and nominations after the season, including the Big Ten offensive player of the year and a Heisman finalist.

Stroud looks ready to take another step forward in 2022. He is currently the betting favorite to win the Heisman at +200, edging out Alabama QB Bryce Young, who won the award last year. With the country’s best wide receiver at his side, Stroud will look to lead Ohio State football back to the promised land.

Not only is Stroud the favorite to win the Heisman, but also to go No. 1 overall in the draft. There’s no bigger lock to go in the first round than that.