Ravens third round pick Malik Harrison signs rookie deal
The Baltimore Ravens entered the 2020 NFL Draft with a glaring hole at the inside linebacker position after losing four-time Pro Bowler CJ Mosley in free agency last offseason and losing two of the rotational players they used to offset his loss last season to free agency this offseason.
General Manager Eric DeCosta addressed the need in the first round with the selection of speedy LSU linebacker Patrick Queen and then doubled down by picking up former Ohio State standout Malik Harrison late in the third round.
On Monday Harrison and the team agreed to terms on his rookie deal and Tuesday he made it official by becoming the latest of the Ravens’ 10-man draft class to sign their rookie contracts leaving just Queen and third-round receiver Devin Duvernay out of Texas as the only draft pick yet to put pen to paper or even agree to terms.
Harrison is expected to come in and compete for a starting job right away and play a key role in Baltimore’s defense that finished ranked third overall last season after a rocky start to begin the 2019 campaign. With Queen slated to start and play at the MIKE position and never come off the field, the former Buckeye will in the mix for the starting WILL position along with veteran L.J. Fort who was signed off the street during the season and was extended before it was ended and former undrafted free agent gems Chris Board and Otaro Alaka.
The former high school quarterback turned thumping linebacker was a two-year starter at Ohio State and led the team in tackles in each of the last two seasons. The 2019 All-Big Ten selection recorded team-high 75 tackles and career highs with 16.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. At 6-3 and almost 250 pounds, he resembles the throwback style of middle linebacker and hits like it too, but he can move quite well in space for a player of his size and his pass coverage skills need some refinement but are an underrated quality of his game.
Harrison and Queen are the future of the middle of the Ravens’ defense and could become one of the top linebacker tandems in the league in short order as thunder and lightning kind of dynamic duo since their skillsets complement each other.
“Patrick Queen is a great linebacker. Me and him together is probably the most dynamic duo in the linebacker corps,” Harrison said via the team’s official website. “You get the best of both worlds with both me and Patrick. He’s the lighter one, and I’m the heavy linebacker. So, it’s like a one-two punch.”