Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome and the rest of his front office evaluators – including Eric DeCosta, Joe Hortiz and head coach John Harbaugh – have essentially turned the draft into child’s play. As the majority of fans become uninterested in later rounds of the draft, for Ozzie & Co. they’re almost so good at it that it becomes like stealing candy from a baby.
It’ll take three years to gain a good grasp on just how well the Ravens drafted this past weekend, but that doesn’t mean that the coaches and fans can’t be excited for some of the team’s newest members – especially one in particular, fourth-round pick John Simon, who was a defensive lineman at Ohio State. Simon was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
With the Ravens, Simon will play outside linebacker and even has a potential chance to be moved inside. Ravens fans should already be excited as he draws comparisons to former fan favorite Jarret Johnson, but hearing how his old coaches rave about the type of person Simon is makes me personally even more excited to see how he develops as a professional.
Simon only played for coach Urban Meyer for one year at Ohio State, but made quite a lasting impression. Meyer referred to Simon as a “grown ass man” following a heartfelt and emotional speech in the Buckeyes’ locker room following a win against California. Meyer is such a big fan of Simon, the often reserved coach even said that if he and his wife were planning on having another son, he’d consider naming him, “Urban John Simon Meyer, or something like that.”
Here’s the clip:
The Ravens have shown throughout their history that the character of their later round picks or undrafted free agents is almost as important as what the player has put on film. These players haven’t produced as much or don’t have as much demand as coddled first round picks; however, they’ve had to show their willingness to work and the type of person they can be within the locker room.
I’m unsure if Ozzie & Co. saw this clip of Meyer gushing about Simon before he was drafted on Saturday, but it’s a welcoming feeling to know that such a guy will hopefully be in the Ravens locker room for years to come. After the mass exodus of high profile leaders this offseason for various reasons, the Ravens are searching for more than great football players – they’re looking for great people as well.
Time will tell for sure, but judging the book by it’s cover, the Ravens appear to have that with Simon.