The Baltimore Ravens Defense Desperately Needs Its Former 1st-Round Pick to Live Up to the Preseason Hype After a Disappointing Start

The Baltimore Ravens are a resilient bunch. They have proven so time and time again. However, after narrowly escaping Detroit, the team needs to do some serious self-reflection. Despite the countless injuries suffered, Baltimore still has plenty of talent in its locker room. The Ravens defense needs to play better, starting with one of its leaders.

Patrick Queen was a steal for the Baltimore Ravens

Patrick Queen luckily fell right into the Baltimore Ravens’ lap at No. 28 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. After a breakout junior season at LSU, Queen entered the draft as one of the most intriguing linebacker prospects in the class.

A former four-star athlete, Queen started all 15 games for LSU in 2019. He registered 85 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, and an interception. He was an integral component of the Tigers’ undefeated national champions run.

Queen’s college tape was eye-popping, as he displayed elite athleticism and physicality. He played with reckless abandon and had a nose for the football. It was those same traits that made him an excellent fit for the Ravens defense.

The Ventress, Louisiana native filled a significant void at linebacker for the Ravens. He started all 16 regular season games as a rookie, recording 106 tackles, nine tackles for loss, three sacks, and two forced fumbles.

The LSU product finished third in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting in 2020. Queen was undoubtedly a steal for the Ravens, considering some of the players who went ahead of him.

Queen has not performed to expectations so far in the 2021 regular season

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen gets stiff-armed by Raiders running back Kenyan Drake
Raiders running back Kenyan Drake stiff arms Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

After a solid rookie season, Patrick Queen entered 2021 looking to take his game to the next level. Given his unique athletic traits, he’s a dream for a defensive coordinator.

Queen is the Baltimore Ravens’ leading tackler through the first three weeks, recording 23 stops on the season. However, his play hasn’t been exactly clean.

The second-year linebacker is aware that he needs to be better. “I feel like I’m pretty good, but I could be way better, though,” said Queen per the Baltimore Ravens team website. “I missed two tackles that I shouldn’t have missed against Kansas City. “Just wrapping up, that’s all I’ve got to do.”

Queen made those comments after Baltimore’s Week 2 upset victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. However, he’s still struggling to sure up some of those mistakes.

The inside linebacker missed multiple tackles against the Detroit Lions as well. He tends to go for the big hit without wrapping up, and that’s just not going to cut it for the Ravens. He’s also appeared to be out of sorts at times in pass coverage.

Queen has the raw talent, but he needs to put it all together so the Ravens defense can succeed.

The Ravens need Patrick Queen to play a Ray Lewis role on defense

The Baltimore Ravens have a rich history on the defensive side of the ball. The majority of the team’s defensive talent has been cultivated through the draft.

The franchise’s inaugural 1996 NFL Draft class featured the greatest linebacker in Ravens history, Ray Lewis. The University of Miami (FL) product spent his entire 17-year NFL career in Baltimore and played his way into a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Lewis was a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and won NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year honors twice. He is also the NFL’s all-time leading tackler.

Patrick Queen looks up to Ray Lewis and admires the impact that he had on the Ravens franchise. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale needs his young linebacker to channel his inner Ray Lewis.

Like Lewis, Queen doesn’t possess prototypical linebacker size. However, he’s hungry. He’s a better athlete than Lewis was, but he needs to focus on working out the kinks in his game.

The season is 17 games long, so there’s time to turn it around, but every week in the NFL counts. If Patrick Queen limits the mistakes and mental lapses, he has the potential to be the next great Baltimore Ravens linebacker.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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