COLUMBUS — Odds are former Ohio State star Jack Mewhort will be picked on the second day of next month’s NFL draft.
He would not take the honor lightly.
A second- or third-round selection would virtually assure the St. John’s Jesuit graduate a firm place on an NFL roster next season and make him among the highest-picked Toledo natives ever.
Yet if you ask Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer — and his NFL insiders — that’s underselling the left tackle he called the heart of his team.
Meyer told an audience at this week’s Hall of Fame Luncheon Club in Canton that he’s heard Mewhort may sneak into the first round.
"I hope he does," he said.
Could it happen?
Mewhort’s agent, Mike McCartney, preferred not to discuss draft-round specifics, saying only, "There’s a strong buzz around Jack."
At this point, there is little more prospects can prove. Mewhort has participated in the Senior Bowl, the NFL scouting combine, Ohio State’s pro day, and several private workouts with interested teams. Until the draft begins May 8, he will wait, train, and attempt to remain sane, which means no peeking at the mock drafts that swamp the Internet.
"I don't ask, I don't look, I don't try to find out," Mewhort said this week. "On draft day, anything can happen It’s about making one team fall in love with you. Until you hear your name, it's a crapshoot."
The rest of us, meanwhile, will keep guessing.
Mewhort is among the Ohio State standouts expected to end the former NFL factory’s recent early-round drought. After the past four drafts produced only four Buckeyes selected in the first three rounds, Mewhort, linebacker Ryan Shazier, cornerback Bradley Roby, and running back Carlos Hyde look to be gone by the end of the third round.
Shazier and Roby are likely candidates to become the first OSU players drafted in the first round since the Steelers tabbed defensive lineman Cameron Heyward in 2011 while Hyde, though widely seen as the top running back, appears a sure second rounder.
Draft gurus almost unanimously project Mewhort as a Day 2 pick, part of a deep second tier of tackle prospects behind Auburn’s Greg Robinson, Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, and Michigan’s Taylor Lewan.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr., sees Mewhort as the eighth-best tackle while CBSSports.com pegs him ninth. Others believe Mewhort’s All-American senior season at left tackle, experience playing every line position, and leadership and smarts — a point Meyer will emphasize to teams — make him a strong candidate for the second round, the landing spot for the Glass City’s last blue-chip draft prospect. In 2008, former Rogers tight end Fred Davis was drafted 48th overall by the Redskins after an All-America career at Southern California.
"I think Jack has had an excellent offseason," McCartney said. "He snapped at his pro day, showed a team can consider him for any one of the five line spots, and his character and leadership have come out."
The only question left is when and where the journey continues.
"You have no idea where the future will take you, no idea what city, no idea where you’re getting drafted," McCartney said. "It is hard, it wears on you. Having said that, draft day starts out as the most miserable experience and then there is nothing like having your name called. It’s a euphoric feeling. It’s a real dichotomy of emotions for players and families. It’s not an easy time, but it’s an exhilarating one."