It’s no secret the Ravens have a storied history at inside linebacker thanks to Ray Lewis, the team’s second-ever draft pick who played in Baltimore for 17 years and became a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer.
And after Lewis retired, the Ravens got high-quality play out of C.J. Mosley from 2014-2018. LSU inside linebacker Patrick Queen, whom the Ravens selected No. 28 overall in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, is next in line, as Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson made clear on Instagram Live when the pick was made:
Lewis was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, 13-time Pro Bowler and earned first-team All-Pro honors seven times. He also helped lead the Ravens to two Super Bowl titles and earned Super Bowl XXXV MVP honors in January 2001. Is Queen OK with the lofty comparison Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP, made on draft night?
“I guess I don’t have a choice since he already called me that,” Queen said with a laugh on Glenn Clark Radio April 24.
Jackson then played along on Twitter:
Regardless of comparisons to past greats, Queen, 20, fills what was a major need for the Ravens entering the draft. Baltimore had just three inside linebackers on the roster ahead of the draft: L.J. Fort, Otaro Alaka and Chris Board. The club also recently agreed to a deal with free-agent linebacker Jake Ryan, but that deal is not yet official.
The 6-foot, 229-pound Queen was the third of three inside linebackers taken in the first round, behind Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray (No. 23 to the Los Angeles Chargers) and Texas Tech’s Jordyn Brooks (No. 27 to the Seattle Seahawks). Queen, a native of Ventress, La., also could have gone to his hometown New Orleans Saints, but the Saints chose Michigan center Cesar Ruiz at No. 24.
But Queen ended up at his preferred destination and became the first LSU player ever drafted by the Ravens.
“I felt like I could’ve been gone earlier. Each pick is just like a scary thing, and then you see players that you never thought were going to go there go there,” Queen said. “… Once I got into that 28th range, I was comfortable. I already knew where I was going to end up. I already felt it in my heart and in my gut that that’s where I was going to end up. It worked out in my favor.”
Queen and Fort project as the starting inside linebackers in Don “Wink” Martindale’s 3-4 scheme, and they should fit in well behind the Ravens’ revamped defensive line, which features veterans Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and Brandon Williams. Queen, who ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, should have plenty of room to run.
Queen helped LSU win the national championship as part of a 15-0 campaign last season. Queen posted 85 tackles, including 12 for loss, and three sacks in 2019. But it was in coverage where Queen really stood out; in fact, he picked off Tua Tagovailoa during LSU’s 46-41 win at Alabama in November.
What will Ravens fans see in Queen when the games start?
“The complete player,” Queen said. “There’s so much I can do on the field. I just can’t limit my game. I think Coach is going to have a lot of stuff for me to have fun with. I plan on winning a lot. I have passion, I’m going to bring that. I’m going to bring intensity, aggression and playmaking ability. I bring it all.”
Queen isn’t the only LSU player making his way to the AFC North. Former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, whom Queen practiced against the last two years, was taken No. 1 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals. Burrow threw for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns on 76.3 percent passing in 2019, perhaps the finest season ever turned in by a college quarterback. After winning the Heisman Trophy, Burrow will look to revive the Bengals, who went 2-14 last year.
Burrow and Queen will now face each other two times a year. Queen will also face off against former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was taken No. 32 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Edwards-Helaire piled up 1,867 yards from scrimmage for the Tigers last year.
Queen is excited about playing against his college teammates in the NFL.
“It’s just a little bit of a respect thing that we’ve all got that we know when we all line up against each other, it’s none of that friends stuff,” Queen said. “After the game, we’re going to be cool and all that, but before the game we’re probably not going to even talk. During the game, we’re for sure not going to talk — just trash talk. … The games are going to be really fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
After winning the national championship in January, Queen wants to win big at the next level. Queen was a big-time performer for LSU during the postseason this past year; he racked up 16 tackles, including four for loss, in two College Football Playoff games. The Ravens have some unfinished business ahead of them after last year’s disappointing finish, and Queen wants to help them win a Super Bowl.
“That’s the whole point, just to get there and win,” Queen said. “I don’t care about all the other stuff. As long as we win, I’m fine. I won a championship in high school. I won one in college. I’m trying to get another one.”
For more from Queen, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of LSU Athletics