Detroit Lions linebacker/ edge rusher
Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio St., 6-3, 246, 4.56
At the linebacker or edge level of defenders, a player that could be a Detroit Lions target after round one is Malik Harrison. Harrison a former Buckeyes defender stands out every time you watch his defensive play. Harrison’s speed is undeniable and he has the size to fill a role very similar to Devon Kennard, the jack linebacker spot.
Usually, we watch Harrison and view him as an opponent’s player, having grown up in Michigan. However, in my role as an objective wannabe NFL draft scout, he has a lot of the talents that the Lions need and use. As stated, he has a great motor and is always near the ball.
Aside from good size, speed, and instincts, Harrison is adept at dropping into zone coverage or speed rushing the passer. In man coverage, he doesn’t look as comfortable and relies on being physical to compensate for occasional difficulties in staying with his man. In general, he is an adequate coverage linebacker but is better in zones or against the run.
Harrison is known to take a bad angle or play too high at times, although that is not common. In pass rush moves he shows limited moves and can be stopped if a player can handle his speed rush. He doesn’t exhibit a variety of moves to counter an offensive player who blocks his speed.
His speed sometimes works against him as he is capable of over pursuing targets at times, too. At other times if away from the play, he almost looks like he has given up on making a play allowing the opposition to gain extra yards. Again, these are not common occurrences but they do happen.
Overall, Harrison is a fast, instinctive player who can rush the passer, drop into coverage, and tackle with power. He has earned playing time in all four years and has started the last two for the Buckeyes. You can view his college numbers, here at Sports Reference’s website.