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February 26, 2013

Buckeyes perform at combine

Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham

INDIANAPOLIS -- With the only remaining portion of the NFL Scouting Combine being workouts for defensive backs, the biggest job interviews in the lives of the seven Ohio State players invited to the event are officially in the books. Some former Buckeyes may have made themselves some money, while others may have not performed as well as they would've hope, and at least one didn't even get the chance to showcase his physical skills, but nevertheless, here's a look at how the they faired heading into Ohio State's March 8 pro day.

Reid Fragel, offensive tackle
Arguably the most impressive of any of the former Buckeyes to perform at the combine, the former tight end left little doubt that he is now a fully transformed offensive tackle, measuring in at 6-foot-8 and 308 pounds. The numbers that he put up in the workouts were even more impressive, with Fragel ranking in top five of offensive line in three separate categories, including bench press (33 reps), vertical jump (30 inches), and broad jump (113 inches).

The Michigan native rounded out his workout with a performance of 5.13 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 7.62 seconds in the three-cone drill, and 4.68 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle.

Heading into the weekend, Fragel projected as a middle-round pick, but he may have boosted his stock with his outing at the combine. With a similar showcase at next week's OSU pro day, Fragel could bump himself into a higher round, should a team become enamored enough with his upside.

Jake Stoneburner, tight end
Much like Fragel, Stoneburner only helped himself during his business trip to Indianapolis. Back at tight tight end after spending his senior season listed as a wide receiver, the Dublin, Ohio native finished in the top five amongst tight ends in four of the six workouts her participated in, posting times of 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 4.27 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, and 11.50 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle. Stoneburner also impressed by posting scores of 34.5 inches in the vertical jump, and 116 inches in the broad jump.

Measuring in at 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, questions may persist about Stoneburner's size at tight end, especially after his 18 reps of 225 pounds placed him in the middle of the pack of his position group. Nevertheless, scouts know that they won't be getting an elite blocker in the three-year college starter, and thus it was more important to showcase his talents as a receiver this past week.

Stoneburner said that he came to Indianapolis projected as a 4th-7th round selection, and his outing may have put him on the right side of that. He'll still have to answer questions about his lower-than-expected 16 receptions in 2012, but don't be surprised if his name gets called on the second or third day of the draft.

Zach Boren, fullback
Sometimes a player's skill set doesn't translate to the type of workouts that occur at the combine, and that appears to be the case with Boren. The fullback-turned-linebacker is back at his former position, but may have hurt his chances of being drafted with a 40-yard dash time of 5.0 seconds even.

The Buckeyes' four-year starter also posted times of 7.28 seconds in the three-cone drill, 4.44 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, and 12.12 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle. Boren recorded distances of 32 inches in the vertical jump and 109 inches in the broad jump, while placing seventh amongst running backs and second amongst fullbacks in the bench press with 25 reps of 225 pounds.

In 2012, only three fullbacks were drafted, and with more pro teams switching to versions of the spread offense, there may be even less taken this year. Still, Boren could use his versatility and leadership skills to catch on somewhere as a special teamer, even if it happens as an undrafted free agent.

Johnathan Hankins, defensive tackle
The lone former Ohio State player projected to be drafted in the first round this year, Hankins came to Indianapolis in hopes of proving himself in what is one of the deeper drafts at his position in recent memory. Weighing in at 6-foot-3 and 320 pounds, Hankins didn't necessarily standout, but he didn't hurt himself either.

Participating in just three drills, Hankins posted distances of 26 inches in the vertical jump and 104 inches in the broad jump. The defensive tackle ran the 40-yard dash in 5.31 seconds, which may have been considered disappointing, but also begs the question, 'When is Johnathan Hankins ever going to be asked to run 40 yards in a single play?'

Mock drafts currently have Hankins projected to be drafted anywhere from the top-10 to the bottom half of the teens. That won't change after this past week, as there's a reason that Hankins decided to forego his senior season to enter this year's draft.

Nathan Williams, defensive end/linebacker
Coming into the draft with questions about what position he'll play, Williams didn't walkaway with a clear answer, and as a result, he may find himself on the wrong side of the draft's bubble come April.

Measuring in at 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds, Williams possesses the size of a linebacker, but the speed and agility showed the of a lineman, clocking in at 4.88 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Williams put up 24 reps on the bench press and recorded distances of 35 inches in the vertical jump and 113 inches in the broad jump, which helped answer questions centering around his health after the Miami Trace product underwent microfracture and arthroscopic knee surgery in the past two years.

Williams was projected to be a 7th round pick or go undrafted heading into Sunday, and that won't likely change. In a league that puts a premium on pass rushing, Williams could, however, work his way onto a roster.

Etienne Sabino, linebacker
Outside of Stoneburner, perhaps no former Buckeye came to Indianapolis with more to prove than Sabino, but unlike Stoneburner, Sabino failed to stand out.

Participating in three drills, the former OSU captain recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.75 seconds, put up 24 reps in the bench press, and jumped 114 inches in the broad jump. A hamstring injury prevented him from running the 40-yard dash a second time, which may only raise further questions about his durability.

At this rate, Sabino will likely be a late round pick if he's drafted at all, with a chance to catch onto a roster as a special teamer.

John Simon, defensive end/linebacker
The "heart and soul" of the 2012 Buckeyes was unable to participate in drills at the combine, as he is still recovering from shoulder surgery.

Questions persist as to whether Simon will play defensive end or linebacker at the next level, and the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year measured in at 6-foot-1 and 257 pounds, which would favor the latter. That's not an ideal size for a pass-rush specialist, but his high motor should land him on a squad in the mid-to-late rounds. It remains to be seen whether or not Simon will workout at Ohio State's pro day.



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