2. Malik Harrison, ILB, Ohio State
At this point, it’s important to mention that this list will not be in the order of what rounds these players will be drafted in. The list is in purely random order.
Malik Harrison is an incredibly interesting prospect. He played quarterback for three years at Walnut Ridge High School (Columbus, OH) and hope to be a receiver at Ohio State. Instead, he switched to linebacker in hopes of better playing time. While he did play 12 games in his true freshman season and 14 games in his sophomore season, he was used sparingly.
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He was limited in field time until his junior season. Once on the field regularly, he shined instantly. Harrison was an honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2018 in a season where he co-led the Buckeyes in tackles with 81. He added 2.5 sacks. 8.5 tackles for loss, and 1 interception.
His senior season was a major step up as he was named first-team All-Big Ten and third-team AP All-American. He led the Buckeyes in tackles with 75 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, and four passes defended.
Malik Harrison possesses all the physical skills of a gifted run-stopper. While he does struggle at times in pass coverage and occasionally over pursues on zone runs, there are no gaps in his game that can’t be coached away in a relatively short time.
He’ll likely start his career playing strictly first and second down situations. Considering that four years ago he was a quarterback trying to learn how to play defense, his improvement to this point shows his learning curve is small and he’s very coachable.
There are questions as to when he’ll come off the board, but it’s expected to be early in the third round. If he’s available when the Browns pick at 74 (or if the trade price isn’t too steep) the front office needs to jump on Harrison as his upside is tremendous and adds both depth and a challenge for a starting spot.