The Baltimore Ravens had one clear-cut position of need entering this year’s draft: middle linebacker. Despite picking near the end of Round 1, they got the highest-rated one in the class in LSU’s Patrick Queen. Here are Queen’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Ravens’ over/under win total.
Queen was actually a star running back as well as a linebacker in high school in Louisiana. He played in 12 games as a freshman at LSU but only sparingly and had six total tackles.
The following season, he played in all 13 games, starting four of LSU’s final five. He led the Tigers with nine tackles to go along with a sack for a 22-yard loss and 2.0 tackles for loss in Fiesta Bowl win over UCF. He finished the season with 40 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss and a sack.
Last year as a junior, Queen started 11 of 15 games and was the defensive MVP of the national title game win over Clemson with 8 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and was credited with half-sack. Queen also had a key interception vs. Alabama, returning it 16 yards late in second quarter. That setup an LSU touchdown that gave the Tigers a 33-13 lead at halftime against Crimson Tide. Queen finished third on the team overall with 85 tackles to go with 12.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.
Queen is a three-down linebacker because he’s athletic enough to cover tight ends and running backs in pass protection. He was limited at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a hamstring injury suffered while running the 40 or might have gone sooner than No. 28 overall to Baltimore.
“You see a guy like that,” Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said of taking Queen, “and it was kind of a no-brainer for us.”
The Ravens watched C.J. Mosley, Patrick Onwuasor, and Josh Bynes all leave in free agency the last two years, so linebacker was a major need area for Baltimore. Under general manager Ozzie Newsome and now DeCosta, the Ravens had taken only two inside linebackers ever entering the 2020 draft: Ray Lewis, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and Mosley, a four-time Pro Bowl player who was never sufficiently replaced after his departure last offseason.
Queen has the potential to be even more effective with the Ravens than he was with LSU, as he’ll be going to a team that blitzes often; something he excelled at in Baton Rouge in 2019. Queen is the first player ever selected by the Ravens from LSU, which is somewhat hard to believe.
Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson already has compared Queen to Lewis. Lewis reached 13 Pro Bowls in 17 NFL seasons (1996 to 2012), winning two Super Bowls and two NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
Asked about the comparison, Queen said: When you think about Ray Lewis, you think about an elite linebacker — speed, physicality, aggression, dominance. I feel like I’m more mobile than he was. Not taking anything away from him, he was a great linebacker, probably the best to play. But I’ve got a lot to live up to. The bar is set high.”
Based on his inexperience, Queen ranks among the biggest first-round risks in this year’s draft and in Ravens history. His 16 career starts are the fewest by any defender selected in the first round of the 2020 draft.
Queen said he’s motivated by the fact that two other inside linebackers — Kenneth Murray at No. 23 and Jordyn Brooks at No. 27 — were selected ahead of him. One of the reasons Queen likely fell is he weighed in at 229 pounds, which is 6 pounds lighter than what Lewis was entering the draft 24 years ago.
“You’ve got to smile [seeing an inside linebacker drafted]. You can’t be watching Derrick Henry go do that to a Ravens defense,” Lewis said, referencing the 195 rushing yards the Titans running back racked up in the Ravens’ playoff exit. “To see P. Queen come in, he’s a very active ‘backer.”