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Round 4: Ravens Select LB John Simon


The Ravens have continued their efforts to upgrade their front seven.

They added Ohio State linebacker John Simon in the fourth round Saturday with pick No. 129.

Simon, 6-foot-1 and 257 pounds, is a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker who can help bolster the pass rush as part of a defensive rotation. He was the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year after finishing last season with 44 tackles, nine sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss.

"They're just a tough, hard-nosed team and I feel that's how I play the game," Simon said after getting picked. "I'm just excited to be part of the organization and look forward to getting to practice."

As has been the trend for the Ravens this draft, they picked up another defensive leader.

Simon was a two-time captain for the Buckeyes and Head Coach Urban Meyer routinely referred to him as the "heart and soul" of the team. Meyer credited Simon for his toughness and even said that he would consider naming a son after Simon.

"If we have another child, I want to name him Urban John Simon Meyer or something," Meyer said last season. "That's how much I love that guy."

Head coach John Harbaugh referenced Meyer's press conference (video below) where he talked about naming a son after Simon, and said it gives a good indication of the kind of person the Ravens are getting.

"It probably says it all," Harbaugh said.

Simon was a three-year starter at Ohio State and first two-time captain since Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis played for the Buckeyes.

He was a versatile defender who worked at both outside linebacker and defensive end, and he's known for his relentless motor. He most likely projects as an outside linebacker in the Ravens' scheme, but said he'll go "wherever they want me to play."

"I'm going to do whatever it takes to be the best I can to help the team out any way possible, whatever that role is," he said. "I'm going to do everything I can to be the best possible player for the Baltimore Ravens I can be."

Simon has drawn comparisons to former Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, who was a hard-nosed player that started a franchise-record 129 straight games for Baltimore.

"He is our kind of guy," Harbaugh said. "Jarret Johnson was a Raven, and he always will be. So, it's probably a good comparison."

Simon will join a crowded group of linebackers, which includes Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Albert McClellan and Pernell McPhee, who is planning to play rush end this year. Suggs and Dumervil are the most likely candidates to start, but Upshaw, McClellan and McPhee all have starting experience.

While it's a packed competition, General Manager Ozzie Newsome has said on a number of occasions that he's always looking to add more pass rushers.

"That's what you go into the National Football League for, is to compete against the best, and I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm looking forward to start practicing," Simon said.

Simon dealt with some injuries in college, battling shoulder and knee injuries his senior season. Those injuries don't appear to be a concern now, and Simon said he'll be ready for rookie minicamp next week.

 "My health is 100 percent," he said. "I'm good to go."

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