Outside linebacker John Simon spent the past few years at Ohio State emulating Mike Vrabel, his position coach who excelled at linebacker for the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs.
Now that Simon has joined the Ravens as a fourth-round draft pick, the Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year could draw an entirely new set of comparisons.
With his gritty style, the avid weightlifter may cause fans to reminisce about former Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson. At 6 feet 1, 257 pounds, Simon has played defensive end, defensive tackle and linebacker.
"Yes, toughness and style, work ethic, attention to detail, guys that love ball," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of Simon and Johnson, who now plays for the San Diego Chargers. "He's our kind of guy. Jarret Johnson was a Raven, and he always will be. So it's probably a good comparison."
Last season, Simon recorded 44 tackles, 14.5 for losses and a career-high nine sacks. In four seasons, Simon finished with 154 tackles, 43 for losses, 20.5 sacks and 10 pass deflections.
"I'm a nonstop motor guy who's going to do whatever it takes to better the team," Simon said. "I do my job. I'm aggressive. My mentality: never quit."
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer often called Simon the heart and soul of the Buckeyes, saying the two-time team captain was his second-favorite player he's ever coached behind Tim Tebow at the Florida.
At his campus Pro Day workout, Simon ran the 40-yard dash between 4.62 and 4.7 seconds.
Simon met with the Ravens at the Senior Bowl and they maintained steady interest in him throughout the scouting process.
"They are just a tough, hard-nosed team, and I feel that's how I play the game," Simon said. "I'm just really excited to be part of the organization and look forward to getting to practice."
Simon was sidelined at the Senior Bowl with a shoulder injury, but said he'll be able to fully participate in the Ravens' rookie minicamp next weekend.
"My health is 100 percent," Simon said. "I'm good to go."
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