Ravens fans should have Malik Harrison on their NFL Draft radar
One of the Baltimore Ravens biggest needs is inside linebacker. They will have plenty of options in the 2020 NFL Draft:
If there was one position you’d expect the Baltimore Ravens to address in the 2020 NFL Draft it’s inside linebacker. There are three players I have graded as first round talents, Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison and Kenneth Murray. That’s right I have Harrison above Murray in my rankings.
With Queen or Murray the Ravens would be getting an elite athlete in the middle of their defense. With Harrison they would be getting a productive player who should be a three down player for them. They literally can’t lose if they want to take a linebacker in the first round.
Harrison is the player to watch here. He’s generally the third linebacker taken in mock drafts. He’s probably too good for the Ravens to get with the 55th overall pick. The question is how high do the Ravens feel comfortable taking Harrison. I’d have no qualms taking him with the 28th pick. He’s a productive player from a school that produces as much NFL talent as Hershey makes chocolate.
Harrison plays with an edge and he seems like a perfect Ravens prospect. The player he reminds me of is Zach Orr. Like Orr he is one of the most aggressive linebackers I have ever seen. This is what Lance Zierlein wrote about Harrison in his NFL.com draft profile of him:
"“Long-legged, loose-hipped linebacker with desired combination of size, physicality and range to help ruin the running game for teams needing linebacker help. His constant downhill mode disrupts blocking schemes and brings impact tackles, but it can be used against him with play-action and misdirection”"
If I’m Don Martindale, that is something I can work with. Harrison is the type of player who only has one speed. He goes full speed, and he hits like a hammer. The number one thing the Ravens should look for in a linebacker is a player who is proactive and tries to make plays in the backfield, not down the field. If the goal is to get better in run defense and be more physical, Harrison is a player that will help with that.
Harrison is not a player who I have a lot of concerns with. He looks the part and he has the production you would expect from a stellar Ohio State linebacker. He had 75 tackles in the 2019 season. 16.5 of them were tackles for a loss. Harrison is also a very good blitzing linebacker who picked up nine sacks in four years. He’s experienced and the amount of big games he played at a Big 10 power means he’s battle tested and ready to go.
Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen have been frequent picks for the Ravens in the various mock drafts. There is no promise that either player would be there at the 28th overall pick. I would also argue that Harrison is a safer pick than Murray. Murray is a great athlete, but he’s a boom or bust player. I could see him being a star. I could also see him being more like an Arthur Brown. Harrison is a pick that I trust.
Harrison is the player to watch. If his draft stock continues to rise, the Ravens may want to consider him with the 28th pick. More than any other player, he fits the mold for a Ravens linebacker. Patrick Queen is the top linebacker in this draft but Harrison may just be a close second. Don’t sleep on him.