/No draft call, but QB Haskins feels ready for NFL

No draft call, but QB Haskins feels ready for NFL

LOS ANGELES — Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins has yet to announce if he will enter the NFL draft or return to school but made it clear that, regardless of what he decides, he is ready for the next level.

“I feel like if I were to leave I’d be fine,” Haskins said Saturday. “I feel like I’d be fine staying or leaving, so the biggest thing is being comfortable and being happy with the decision.”

After Oregon‘s Justin Herbert announced he will return for his senior year, Haskins’ chances at becoming the first quarterback drafted improved. With Herbert out of the draft pool, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Haskins, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, as the top draft-eligible quarterback.

Herbert’s decision, though, won’t factor into Haskins’ plans.

“I felt I was the best quarterback in the country regardless of what Herbert did,” Haskins said. “I’m happy he made that decision for himself, but the decision had nothing to do with me.”

Ohio State offensive coordinator and soon-to-be head coach Ryan Day said he would talk with Haskins about the looming decision after the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual. Day compared Haskins to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and former Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, both of whom he coached in the NFL, as players with whom Haskins shares qualities.

“Those are the two guys I’ve been around that are in that same category right now — their anticipation, their accuracy, the way the ball comes off their hand. I’d compare him to those two guys,” Day said.

In his first year as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, Haskins has thrown for 4,580 yards with 47 touchdown passes and eight interceptions while completing 70.2 percent of his passes.

“I talk to my teammates about it all the time: come back, win a national championship, win a Heisman Trophy and all those great things to think about,” Haskins said. “There’s a lot on my mind right now.”

Despite just one year of playing experience, Haskins has no worries about adapting to the mental side of the NFL.

“I’m extremely confident. I’d kill the board [to write plays on]. I love protections, I love plays,” he said. “If you don’t like that being a quarterback, you’re not going to last long. Everyone can throw a football, but if you can’t ID fronts, if you can’t see pressure, you’re not going to last long.

“You have to learn how to love to watch film, be able to learn how to love protections at the end of the day, because that’s what will make you last. I could write a book on protections, honestly.”

In the Rose Bowl, Washington promises to be one of the more difficult tests of Haskins’ young career. The Huskies have one of the best secondaries in the country, with two All-American-caliber players in cornerback Byron Murphy and safety Taylor Rapp.

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