Ravens use fourth-round picks on defensive end, fullback

Simon and Juszczyk added with back-to-back selections

April 27, 2013|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens continued their trend of beefing up their defense with their first selection of the fourth round and then they finally drafted an offensive player one pick later.

With the 129th overall pick, the Ravens drafted John Simon, a defensive end from Ohio State. They then used the 130th pick, a compensatory one, on Harvard fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

Simon was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season with 44 tackles, including 14 ½ for losses, and a career-high nine sacks. At 6-foot-1 and 257 pounds, Simon is versatile, having played defensive end, defensive tackle and outside linebacker.

The Ravens have made several additions along the defensive line, including the signings of Chris Canty and Marcus Spears along with using a third-round draft pick on nose tackle Brandon Williams. However, Simon could be used as an edge rusher with the Ravens.

In his four-year career at Ohio State, Simon started 37 of 50 games and finished with 154 tackles, including 43 for losses, 20 ½ sacks and 10 pass breakups.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer repeatedly called Simon, who met twice with Ravens officials at the Senior Bowl, the heart and soul of the Buckeyes.

Juszczyk (6-foot-1, 248 pounds) also visited the Ravens in the lead up to the draft. He is the first player drafted from Harvard since quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was taken by the St. Louis Rams in the fifth round in 2005.

Last season, Juszczyk, a three-time All-Ivy League selection who has also played tight end, caught 52 passes for 706 yards and eight touchdowns. The Ohio native finished his career with 125 receptions for 1,576 yards and 22 touchdowns.

His addition immediately fueled speculation that the Ravens could release Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach who is entering the final year of his contract and is due a $3 million base salary with a $4.33 million salary-cap figure. However, Juszczyk is a versatile guy who was used last season as a fullback, tight end and slot receiver.

Team officials are expected to meet with reporters following their final pick of the draft today. The Ravens have five more selections: one in the fifth round, two in the sixth and two in the seventh.

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