LB Darron Lee: Drafted
Round 1, Pick 20
Team: New York Jets
New Albany, Ohio
33 1/4-inch arm length
9 3/4-inch hands
17 reps on bench press
Scout Pre-Draft Rankings
No. 4 outside linebacker in the draft
No. 26 overall prospect
Ohio State Career: Lee came to Ohio State as a high school quarterback, who was projected to play safety by most recruiting services. Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell insisted to Urban Meyer that Lee be offered a scholarship, and the rest is history.
After redshirting in 2013, Lee earned a starting linebacker spot at Ohio State in 2014 and made his impact felt in the very first game of his college career, returning a fumble 61 yards for a touchdown against Navy. Lee made a name for himself as a freshman with his lightning quick speed from his outside linebacker spot in addition to his ability to blow up blocks.
Lee started all 15 games during Ohio State’s run to a national championship, and much like his teammate Cardale Jones, had an impressive run to end the season. Lee would return another fumble for a score against Michigan in the regular season finale, before registering a career high three tackles for loss against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl win that sent the Buckeyes to the first-ever College Football Playoff title game. He was named a freshman All-American in 2014.
In 2015, Lee would once again start every game for the Buckeyes, but saw a decline in his production statistically. While playing two less games, Lee recorded 15 fewer tackles than he did in his freshman campaign but was still making highlight plays. He picked off a screen pass against Northern Illinois and returned it for a score in a 20-13 victory and finished his Ohio State career with seven solo tackles in a Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.
Lee is the second Ohio State linebacker to be selected in the first round in three years, as Ryan Shazier was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft.
Expert Breakdown: “Darron Lee is the one guy I struggle with the most because I see him as a guy that when you watch him play, there are times where he doesn’t always finish. That’s where I like to believe that a guy who runs and moves as well as he does can put himself in position to finish plays. But then again, you watch him run down plays from the back side and he can do that. It’ll be really interesting to see where a team places him and whether he can develop that ability to finish plays.” Bryan Broaddus, former NFL scout.
Lee Says: “The game is getting faster and you need guys to cover. You’re starting to see that change a lot this year in the league. I think if I can show being consistent in my technique and even showing that on the field, that will get you out of some tough situations and help you play fundamentally sound. Being a fundamentally sound football player or linebacker will carry you a long way in your career.”