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Mike Mayock's first NFL draft rankings include eight Buckeyes

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock released his top five prospects at each position for the 2016 NFL Draft on Wednesday, naming North Dakota State's Carson Wentz as the draft's top quarterback prospect and Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott as its top rusher.

Here are a few of the more interesting things we learned Wednesday from Mayock's initial position-by-position rankings:

1. Buckeye flavor. The strength of Ohio State's draft class is undeniable, but perspective on just how much impact OSU will have on the early rounds of the draft is all the more evident now. Mayock named eight Buckeyes among the draft's top five prospects at their respective positions, more than any other school: Ezekiel Elliott (No. 1 RB), Michael Thomas (No. 3 WR), Nick Vannett (No. 4 TE), Taylor Decker (No. 4 OT), Joey Bosa (No. 1 DE), Darron Lee (No. 4 LB), Eli Apple (No. 4 CB) and Vonn Bell (No. 2 S). And that doesn't even complete the Buckeyes' list of draft prospects -- don't forget DL Adolphus Washington, QB Cardale Jones, WR Braxton Miller or LB Joshua Perry. Someone remind us again: how exactly did this team not reach the College Football Playoff?

2. Splitting QB hairs.North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz earned Mayock's top ranking among quarterbacks, but not by much. In fact, Mayock tweeted that his No. 2 QB, Cal's Jared Goff, is exiting the college ranks as the more polished passer. Mayock favors Wentz in terms of potential.*

3. No Hackenberg. Penn State's enigmatic quarterback prospect did not crack the top five quarterbacks. Mayock has made no secret of his concerns about Hackenberg's dismal game tape, suggesting recently on The College Draft podcast that Hackenberg has the look of a fourth-round pick. The junior's production at the college level declined from his freshman season, and poor pass protection contributed to Hackenberg being sacked more than 100 times in his career. For now, Mayock's fifth-rated quarterback is Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, who earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Reese's Senior Bowl.

4. Sorting out the backs. While NFL Media analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks both see Arkansas' Alex Collins as the third-best running back in the draft, behind Elliott and Alabama's Derrick Henry, Mayock prefers Utah's Devontae Booker as the No. 3 back, followed by Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon and Indiana's Jordan Howard.

5. Injury? What injury? Nobody will be more pleased to see Mayock's rankings than West Virginia safety Karl Joseph. The hard-hitting Mountaineers star missed most of his final college season with a knee injury suffered in practice during a non-contact drill. But Joseph's reputation as one of the top defensive backs in college football was well-established before he was hurt, and Mayock ranked him the No. 1 safety in the draft.

6. Strong up front. Two schools claim two of the top five prospects along the offensive line: Notre Dame's Nick Martin, the younger brother of former Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Zack Martin, begins Mayock's initial top-five rankings as the No. 2 center prospect, while Fighting Irish left tackle Ronnie Stanley is the No. 2 tackle behind Ole Miss' Laremy Tunsil. Michigan State also had a center-tackle tandem in the rankings with Jack Allen (No. 5 center) and Jack Conklin (No. 3 tackle).

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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