Ohio State defensive back rises quickly on Mel Kiper Jr.'s big board
Two weeks ago, Mel Kiper Jr. was all in on Malik Hooker.
The Ohio State safety quickly emerged on draft boards everywhere because of the fast start that he and the Buckeye secondary was off to. Kiper had him at No. 19 overall in his first full season as a starter.
Hooker didn’t make Kiper’s big board this time, but another Buckeye defensive back did. OSU cornerback Marshon Lattimore cracked Kiper’s board at No. 15.
Kiper explained why he gave Lattimore the bump:
“This is the year of the third-year sophomore, and Ohio State has two really good ones who could jump to the draft. Buckeyes safety Malik Hooker was in my previous Big Board, and this is Lattimore’s first appearance. Lattimore (6-1, 190) is a first-year starter who struggled with a hamstring injury during his first two years in Columbus. He has been fantastic this season, standing out in a group of talented defenders. Lattimore tackles well and has locked down receivers; he has three interceptions. The cornerback class for the 2017 draft could be special, and Lattimore is in the top tier.”
It’s hard to argue with that. Lattimore has a team-high eight pass breakups and 11 passes defended. He only trails Hooker in interceptions and he’s sixth on the team in tackles.
He also returned an interception for a touchdown:
Lattimore was one of three B1G players to make Kiper’s top 25. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers came in at No. 3 and Michigan State’s Malik McDowell was at No. 7, which is where both were slotted last time.
And while Kiper keeps shuffling his Ohio State defensive backs, other draft experts believe that several could wind up going in the first round:
#OhioState primed to have 3 DBs drafted in Rd1 with Conley, Hooker and Lattimore. Just insane.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 27, 2016