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Trenton Simpson: The Last Piece to Baltimore’s Quest for the League’s Most Versatile Defense

How Trenton Simpson’s Athleticism and Versatility Elevates the Ravens Defense to New Heights in 2023

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens made an intriguing selection during the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft when they chose Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson with the No. 86 pick. The pick left many Ravens fans puzzled, as Simpson’s selection was not widely predicted but does fall in line with their ‘best player available’ mantra.

It’s hard to ignore the impressive athletic abilities possessed by Simpson. Standing at 6’2 and weighing 235 pounds, he boasts prototypical size for a linebacker. Additionally, his speed and acceleration are simply unmatched, as evidenced by his impressive 4.43 forty yard dash at the combine. For context, this time is only slightly slower than that of first round wide receiver Zay Flowers, who ran a 4.42. This earned him a relative athletic score that ranks him in the top two percent of all linebackers from 1987 to 2023, with a grade of 9.83.

Simpson played almost every position on the field during his time at Clemson. While some may wonder how he will fit into the Ravens’ already impressive linebacker corps, defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has an abundance of options with this talented group. Much like safety Kyle Hamilton last year, Simpson’s versatility will enable MacDonald to deploy him strategically and on special teams while he grows into the NFL game.

MacDonald relies heavily on hybrid defenses which makes Simpson the perfect addition to his unit. With Hamilton and Simpson, Baltimore now has two four-down hybrid players that can play on run and pass downs.

For the last three years, the Ravens have been building a fast and dynamic defense that will be able to effectively counter some of the top offenses in the conference. If pass rushers David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh continue their development, and the team adds some veteran cornerbacks to the mix, the Ravens defense could be devastating in 2023.