Malik Harrison

Linebacker

Ohio State

6'3"

247 lbs

SCOUTING GRADE

7.68

Games Evaluated: 2019 Vs: Clemson (College Football Playoff), Michigan State 2018 Vs: Michigan

Report By: Bobby Greco

Scouting Report

ATHLETICISM: 7.87

Q.A.B. / C.O.D.: 7.80
Flexibility: 7.50
Explosiveness: 7.50
Playing Speed: 7.70
Coordination: 8.00
Position Versatility: 8.70

His athletic abilities are something that will make you really excited, should he end up on your team. He just might be the most versatile LB in this draft not named Isaiah Simmons. Ohio St played him at every linebacker position during a game and he never looked overwhelmed. That can also be said for what his responsibility was on a given play, he was effective stopping the run, rushing the passer and dropping back in coverage. He runs with a great center of gravity and it allows him to change direction instantly, while still having the ability to break down and make a tackle. This ability also shows how good his coordination is because he is able to run to any point on the field and is in a position to make a play consistently.

PASS RSUH ABILITY: 7.40

Initial Quickness: 7.70
Rush with Leverage: 7.40
Pass Rush Moves: 6.90
Pressure Consistency: 7.60

For a pure LB, he is a very good pass rusher. He is explosive off the snap and gets good initial pressure, but doesn't have the finishing moves to be a big pass rusher. Though he is very capable when taking on blockers 1-1, he just doesn't have a lot moves in his arsenal that can regularly beat the blocker. He is a very smart linebacker and a mean blitzer, so he is still a big threat here. When he does go 1-1 with a lineman, he uses great leverage and that goes back to the great center of gravity he plays with. It's very interesting to watch because you never see a lineman be able to flatten him and yet he doesn't have the quick hands or finishing moves you would like to see or at least didn't show them much. Another thing he very good at, is forcing the QB to throw over him if his rush doesn't get there in time. If you can make change his throw, there is a good chance you break up the play.

COVERAGE: 7.98

Pass Drops: 8.00
Coverage Awareness: 8.40
M/M Coverage: 7.80
Zone Coverage: 7.70

He is a great coverage linebacker as he is always aware of who he's got and is very quick getting to where he needs to go. It doesn't matter if it's zone coverage or man coverage, his awareness and athleticism make him a fantastic coverage LB. With the evolution of the game and his position, he is going to be an impact player away. He may struggle playing man against a big TE, but when covering RBs he is a lockdown player. It is really impressive how he gets to his assignment so quickly and never loses sight of his guy, even if the offense uses motion. In zone coverage, you see more of the same impressive abilities he has. A very underrated part of his game is how he uses his length to his advantage. His knowledge of how to affect a pass without having to necessarily touch the ball is something that not enough LBs use to their advantage. He will help any team that gets him because he is a perfect representation of a modern NFL linebacker.

AGAINST THE RUN: 7.96

Play with Leverage: 8.50
Stack and Shed: 7.70
Run at Him: 8.00
Runs Away: 7.30
Tackling/Hitting: 8.30

Fantastic in run support and a great tackler to boot. Plays with the ideal leverage you want to see from a linebacker, which goes back to his center of gravity. The fact that he is able to stay low during the duration of a play really helps him get through blockers and make the tackle. There were a lot of times where he was able to shoot right under a lineman and get to the back or reach around lineman to make a play. He is especially effective when the run comes in his direction because he is always ready to take on the blocker and his leverage allows him to adjust how he is going to attack the play. The downside of his game is when the play is run away from him. He is such an aggressive player that he takes himself out of plays, this can be his inexperience at the position. He doesn't know all the fine points of playing LB, so when a play goes the opposite way he gets too deep and creates a huge cutback lane. This year’s CFP game vs Clemson, Trevor Lawrence was able to get his long TD run because Harrison was so deep in the backfield that nobody was there to prevent it. This also makes him struggle with misdirection and counters.

COMPETITIVENESS: 7.93

Toughness: 8.20
Production: 7.80
Consistency/Motor: 7.80

He is already a really tough player but gets a bit of higher grade simply for the fact that he changed from a QB to an LB when arriving on campus at Ohio St and still got playing time as a freshman. That is not an easy change to make, so the fact he got playing time his freshman year speaks volumes about his toughness. Sure he only had 13 tackles that season, but I don't think it can be understated how difficult going from QB to LB is. It also shows how relentless his motor is, because he was able to contribute right away. You can really see how intense his motor is when watching his film because he is always at the point of attack and is there to finish tackles on pretty much every play. However, he doesn't get as high of a grade as he should, because his aggression and killer mentality can get him in trouble. There seems to always be a few plays that he takes himself out of, by over pursuing and cheating around a block. Otherwise, he would probably grade into the mid 8s here.

INTELLIGENCE: 7.47

Instincts: 7.40
Learn/Retain: 7.10
Concentration: 7.90

This is a difficult area to grade because he is such a smart football player, but he isn't the most instinctual player on the field. He is always aware of what is happening on any given play and knows what his job, he just doesn't always know how to best do his job. He also gets a lower retention score, because he regularly gets to deep in the backfield and gets beat on misdirections. Since that still happens, it's something that he isn't learning from. However, he is still a very good linebacker and someone who can digest a lot of information, seeing that he picked up playing LB so fast.

STRENGTHS

Prototypical size for a linebacker. Has the skill and versatility to do anything in a defensive scheme, can also play at every LB position. Has incredible coverage skills and can take a RB out of a passing attack, then still very effective in defending the run. Great center of gravity, allows him to always have a leverage advantage against a lineman.

WEAKNESSES

Doesn't have great instincts. He is very susceptible to allowing a cutback and gets lost on misdirection. He also doesn't have a big arsenal of pass rush moves, what he shows are usually pretty basic moves.

BIG PICTURE

With the number of strengths in his game and how versatile he is, I see him as the third-ranked LB in this class. Yes, there are things he needs to improve, but he brings the aura you want in a linebacker. He will make an impact day 1, on any team that gets him. He has the skills and potential to be a 1st round pick, but I think it's most likely he goes in the 2nd. He would be a perfect fit in Buffalo, taking over for newly retired Lorenzo Alexander. I also think his style would be a huge impact in the NFC South, because of the QBs in that division and his ability to cover running backs. A good player comparison for him is Seattle's Bobby Wagner because they are both do everything linebackers.

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