Davon Hamilton and Malik Harrison became close friends when they were teammates leading one of the most dominant defenses in the country last season at Ohio State.
The duo, who are both Columbus natives and quickly bonded over their hometown roots, were roommates for the Senior Bowl, too. They were both invited to the game after they built seasons that drew praise from NFL scouts and landed them on All-Big Ten teams. Hamilton, a defensive tackle, landed on third-team All-Big Ten while Harrison received first-team honors.
Now, they're in Indianapolis together for the NFL Combine and looking to improve their draft stock ahead of finding new homes in the upcoming draft.
"Honestly, me and Malik, we're kind of goofballs," Hamilton said with a laugh. "He's one of the best friends I've had on the team. We're both from Columbus, and ever since he came in, we've been best friends."
Both of the former Buckeyes are likely to be available on Days 2 or 3 of the draft for the Browns, who, like every other team in the NFL, are always looking for more depth in the front seven.
Hamilton, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound defensive tackle, is projected to be off the board after Day 2. He's been exalted for his run-stuffing abilities and figures to be an NFL starter early in his career after recording 28 tackles — 9.5 of them were behind the line of scrimmage — and six sacks.
Harrison, however, is a 6-foot-3, 246-pound linebacker who could make more sense. He's likely to be selected on Day 2 and could draw interest from the Browns depending on what they decide to do with Joe Schobert.
Schobert's status as a four-year Browns veteran could be up March 18 if the Browns don't extend his contract. If that happens, Cleveland likely will look for depth at linebacker in free agency and the draft to support Mack Wilson and Christian Kirksey, who played in two games last year after suffering a torn pectoral tendon.
There could be promising linebackers for the Browns in the first round, but Cleveland might take advantage of the plethora of offensive tackles or address other areas that should be available in the early picks.
One of the next biggest needs is at linebacker, and Harrison could fill it. He didn't think he'd have early-round draft pick potential when he first arrived at Ohio State, but now he's one of the draft's top linebackers after leading the Buckeyes with 75 tackles in his final season.
"I didn't expect this at all," Harrison said. "I'm one of the biggest linebackers in this draft class. Being able to be that big and being able to move is still a big plus for me."
Hamilton or Harrison will likely be available for the Browns if they want to bolster their defense with only the second Ohio State draft pick since 2009 and first since Denzel Ward was selected in 2018.
Their camaraderie with the Buckeyes helped them get to this level, and now they get to watch each other find their next home.
Check out photos of players interviewing at the 2020 NFL Combine