NFL Draft: Mike Weber is most underrated Ohio State player on the board

On3 imageby:Austin Ward04/24/19


The speculation, debate and conversations about Ohio State never end, and Lettermen Row is always ready to dive into the discussions. All week long, senior writer Austin Ward will field topics about the Buckeyes submitted by readers and break down anything that’s on the minds of the Best Damn Fans in the Land. Have a question that needs to be tackled, like the one today about the NFL Draft and an overlooked prospect like Mike Weber? Send it in right here — and check back daily for the answers.

Mike Weber bet on himself, and the Ohio State running back was a winner.

He could have skipped off to the NFL and been drafted at this time a year ago, but his stock wasn’t high, there were questions about his health and it might have looked like he was scared of competing against J.K. Dobbins for carries. But after clearly wrestling with his emotions at the end of a season that didn’t go the way he envisioned in 2017, Weber decided to give it one more go with the Buckeyes — and for the most part, it worked out for everybody involved.

Just about the only complaint that can be had might be with the way Ohio State used Weber in a rotation with Dobbins that never seemed to click for either tailback. But NFL scouts shouldn’t hold that against Weber, who lived up to his end of the bargain when given the chance to show what he can do. When healthy, Weber showed off explosive speed, a willingness to embrace contact as both a runner and a blocker and the skills to make plays as a receiver out of the backfield.

And the best might still be ahead of him.

Mike Weber-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Ohio State running back Mike Weber has tested well in the buildup to the NFL Draft. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“I feel like [my Ohio State career] went well,” Weber said at the combine. “I still didn’t feel like I played my best — through injuries, through adversity, through not getting the ball sometimes. With different situations, everything plays a part.

“But I still feel like I have a lot of room to improve. And I’m ready to show any team that I’m ready to improve.”

If clubs at the next level are looking for a guy with untapped potential, the skills to play on all three downs, enough athleticism to perform against professionals and a background with a program known for producing NFL-caliber running backs, Weber is going to be a steal for somebody. And that value should only be enhanced since he’ll still likely be sitting there waiting in the third round.

Teams might question Weber’s injury history, and that’s understandable given the way everything about prospects is picked apart leading up the NFL Draft. But Weber is a proven commodity against some of the nation’s best defenses. He’s accepted roles in the past with the Buckeyes that probably weren’t ideal — and some of those injuries and his shared workload might have saved a bit of wear and tear on his body until he gets to the next level.

Given the way organizations seem to be devaluing running backs in the draft, Mike Weber is almost certainly going to have to wait for a while until he hears his name called. But whenever that does happen, some team is going to wind up with an NFL-ready tailback hungry to show what he can do.

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