Former Buckeyes lineman John Simon will make his professional debut with the Baltimore Ravens tonight, as they take on the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium.
Simon was selected 129th overall by the Ravens in this past April’s NFL Draft, and has drawn comparisons to fellow Buckeye alum Mike Vrabel, who worked with Simon as an Ohio State positions coach last year. Simon was named the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, recording nine sacks, 14.5 tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and four passes defended.
Here’s what ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. had to say about Simon:
“I like the way he plays the game. He’s got a lot of versatility. He plays with energy, kind of like the old Mike Vrabel who came out of Ohio State, had a nice career in NFL,” Kiper said. “Play down end, gives you some scheme versatility. Great kid. Tremendously hard worker, great passion for the game.”
The Ravens have a talented outside linebacker core, led by Terrell Suggs and newly-acquired Elvis Dumervil, so immediate playing time may not be available to Simon, but he certainly has some great mentors to learn from. As a hybrid defensive end/linebacker, Simon could also see some time on the line, though once again, the Ravens boast a talented group led by Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty and Arthur Jones. Simon has a surplus of outstanding players to learn from, but doesn’t figure to see a lot of defensive snaps this season.
One area that Simon could excel at could be on special teams. Teams, including the Ravens, have put much more emphasis on their special teams units over the last few seasons, and being the great tackler he is, Simon could be a big contributor covering kicks.
The Ravens kick off at 8:30 EST tonight, and the game can be seen on NBC. Carrie Underwood will also be making her debut, as she takes over for Faith Hill as the new singer of “Sunday Night Football on NBC” during the pregame show. Simon is in good company.