Name: Malik Harrison
School: Ohio State
2019 stats: 75 tackles, 16.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks
Career stats: 205 tackles, 29 TFL, 9 sacks
Malik Harrison is a 6’3”, 247-lb ILB from Columbus, Ohio. At Ohio State, Harrison saw the field right away and appeared in twelve games as a freshman. As a senior, he was named to the First-Team All-Big Ten team.
Harrison is a big, physical ILB who is at his best against the run. He is not at all afraid to come downhill and mix it up with offensive linemen. When taking on blocks, Harrison uses great technique and displays good hand placement. Harrison has the requisite length and more than enough strength to “stack and shed.”
As a tackler, Harrison brings a lot of power and rarely misses. Harrison is an effective blitzer who times snaps well and uses his burst to get through the line. He is a high-effort player and is always running to the football.
Best Trait: Physicality
Harrison’s athleticism, illustrated by great testing numbers at the NFL Combine, doesn’t always translate on tape. He doesn’t have sideline-to-sideline range. Harrison occasionally takes poor angles and doesn’t have the speed to recover. While his willingness to come downhill and take on blockers is typically a huge asset, it sometimes gets him caught looking against play action or misdirection.
Harrison is limited in coverage. He’s capable of the most basic zone drops, but not much more. At Ohio State, his coaches masked his limitations in coverage by using him frequently as a blitzer.
Worst Trait: Cover Ability
With his size and willingness to take on blockers inside, Harrison projects best as a MIKE linebacker in the Ravens’ base 3-4 defense. He would be an asset to Wink Martindale’s defense as a force against the run. With only two ILBs (L.J. Fort and Chris Board) currently under contract, Harrison would be competing for playing time right away.
Harrison needs some time to develop his coverage ability. Until the time that he could be fully trusted in coverage, Harrison could be used as a blitzer or QB spy on obvious passing downs.
Benardrick McKinney (HOU, 2015 – Present)
Like McMinney, Harrison is powerful, throwback ILB. Both players are big ILBs who are at their best coming downhill to play the run. Coming out of Mississippi State, McKinney was praised for his ability take on big offensive linemen, play through the block and make the tackle.
As prospects, both McKinney and Harrison had questions about their ability to be three-down players in the NFL. McKinney, who signed a five-year, $50 million contract extension with the Texans in June 2018, was second-team All-Pro in 2016 and made his first Pro Bowl in 2018.
Malik Harrison should quickly become a starting ILB in the NFL. With great size and tackling ability, Harrison is a throwback to the “Thumper” ILB who may need time to develop into a true three-down player. Harrison has the potential to be one of the Top 5 ILBs selected and should go sometime on Day 2.
With the 60th pick in the draft, the Ravens have a decent chance of having the opportunity to select Harrison.