Malik Harrison has quickly risen up draft boards and analysts are falling in love with the Ohio State linebacker. The Baltimore Ravens should be interested.
A four-year player at Ohio State, Malik Harrison was a key cog in the Buckeyes vicious defense that featured top-five picks in Chase Young and Jeff Okudah. Despite a heavy amount of talent around him, Harrison stood out in run defense and delivered some big hits.
Harrison has seen his draft stock spike over the past few months and could be a late first-round draft choice for a team like the Baltimore Ravens or Kansas City Chiefs. Harrison’s value as a run defender is tremendous, and he may be the best run defending linebacker in the 2020 NFL Draft class. His pass coverage does leave a lot to be desired, however.
Notable stats for Malik Harrison (full stats here) 2016-2019:
- 205 career tackles (156 in last two seasons, 104 solo)
- 25.0 TFLs and six sacks over last two seasons
- Four turnovers (one interception, three fumble recoveries) from 2018-2019
- Possesses the ideal body-type for a prototypical linebacker at 6’3″ 247-lbs.
- Good frame of work with strong starting seasons (2018-2019) and production to match
- Strong run defender, perhaps the best in his class
- Can work off blocks better than most; finds ways to knife through offensive linemen and make plays in the backfield
- Solid open-field tackler, but more importantly…
- Hard-hitting, tone-setting presence in the middle of the field
- An average athlete with average speed (4.66 40-yard dash) that shows up on film
- Dives for tackles more often than you’d like, resulting in misses
- Read-and-react isn’t anything special; can be a slow processor at times
- Work needs to be done in pass coverage; rarely asked to drop deep into zone, instead being asked to do more spy work
Fit with the Ravens:
Malik Harrison’s best value is going to come as a run defender. Harrison has the stats and tape to back up his claim as one of the draft’s better run stoppers at the linebacker spot. For a Baltimore Ravens defense that was leaky against the run in 2019, Harrison is an immediate difference-maker on defense.
There’s work to be done in pass coverage, but Harrison’s true value will come as a run defender. Baltimore’s beefed-up defensive line will allow Harrison to glide through opposing offensive lines and consistently make plays in the backfield. Harrison is also a tone-setter as a hitter and will make receivers think twice about going across the middle. All in all, Harrison looks, feels, and plays like a Baltimore Raven.
Malik Harrison’s draft stock continues to rise, but the Baltimore Ravens are in an awkward spot for Harrison’s value. The 28th overall pick seems too early, but the 55th overall pick seems too late. Regardless of draft choice value, Harrison would be an excellent addition to the Ravens defense and would be a day one starter. If Baltimore bypassed or missed out on Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen, Harrison is a helluva consolation prize.