The Ravens have still yet to address the middle linebacker position through free agency. Although they have re-signed players they brought in during the middle of last year’s regular season including DT Justin Ellis and EDGE Jihad Ward, MLB Josh Bynes still remains on the free agent market. No news has surfaced regarding any desire for the Ravens to bring back Bynes. Therefore, it’s safe to assume the middle linebacker position will be a priority in the early portion of this year’s draft.
Drafting LSU product Patrick Queen would immediately fill the void at middle linebacker with a starting-caliber player. Queen was a key cog in LSU’s defense during their college football championship run and eventual victory. Queen played with the best college football players in the country on the biggest stage and proved why he should be mentioned in first round conversation.
By being a key piece to one of the most dominant defenses in recent college football history, he has the ability to do the exact same in the pros and be a leader of an NFL defense.
ILB Patrick Queen, LSU
Weight: 229 pounds
2019 Stats: 37 solo tackles, 48 assisted, 12 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 2 PDs, 1 FR
Queen posted very solid numbers during LSU’s championship season. Queen has some very translatable strengths but at the same time, some concerning weaknesses that may push him down some team’s draft boards with them preferring to address the middle linebacker position after the first round.
- Has sideline-to-sideline speed and demonstrated such speed throughout this season
- Has very good instincts
- Very good at recognizing plays and offensive patterns
- Very good blitzer by defeating blocks and shooting gaps
- Communicated very well as a middle linebacker, which is essential in for MLBs in the NFL
- Moves very fluidly when working laterally
- Great range, which directly correlates to his sideline-to-sideline ability
- He’s a very tough football player and always plays at full speed
- Has the ability to seamlessly flip his hips, which a number of linebackers have trouble doing; he is not at all stiff
- Very strong coverage abilities; he consistently observes the quarterback’s eyes
- Demonstrates great route recognition when in zone coverage
- He’s a very explosive player and has a powerful first step
- Is undersized for the middle linebacker position; he’ll have a hard time bringing down bigger running backs
- Often finds himself susceptible to letting tackles escape from him
- Sometimes has lapses when in zone coverage as he misses certain assignments, which leads to big plays
- Is often swallowed up by blockers and has a tough time shedding blocks as well
- He isn't always the first defender to the ball as many inside linebackers are; he’s often the second or third tackler to the ball
- Sometimes takes poor angles to the ball, which results in him being completely removed from the play
- Has only one year of starting experience under his belt
Floor Comparison: Brandon Marshall
Ceiling Comparison: Lavonte David
How Queen fits on the Ravens:
Aside from being a plug-and-play at middle linebacker, Queen has the winning attitude as well as the big-game experience that many other rookies coming into the NFL don’t have. Abilities like those just described make a rookie’s transition from one winning culture in college to another in the NFL very seamless.
Queen’s advanced coverage abilities for his age and position will allow for the Ravens defense to be very difficult to throw on, especially with intermediate routes. Additionally, Queen’s communication abilities as well as his play recognition and instincts gives the Ravens defense another player who can diagnose and disrupt plays.
With lasting uncertainty at the middle linebacker position, turning in a draft card with Patrick Queen’s name on it would give the Ravens a long-term solution at the position and further solidify the defense’s resume of dominance.