‘They’re Great People:’ Ravens DC Loves Team’s Rookie Linebackers

Patrick Queen

Getty Patrick Queen celebrates a big play.

The Baltimore Ravens picked a few rookie linebackers in Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison thanks to what they can do on the field, but so far, they’ve impressed their new staff in plenty of other ways.

Speaking to the media, Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale was asked to break down what he’s seen from the young players so far. As he said, they’re typical rookies with ups and downs on the field, but he is more impressed with the caliber of person each player is.

Martindale said:

“I think they’re exactly what we expected. They’re young and they’re making some mistakes but for the most part, first of all, they’re great people. I’ve had some good conversations with them besides just football. We really haven’t gotten into the 11 on 11 pads where you can see their instincts. I think from all the film we’ve watched they’ve both done a really nice job and haven’t disappointed anyone.”

Queen and Harrison figure to be in the mix for the team moving forward and leading the charge at a position that needed tons of help this offseason. When they get on the field, it’s likely they will continue to not disappoint their coach, but it’s nice to see he’s already excited about the new players and personalities coming into the mix.

John Harbaugh Explains Plan for Rookie Linebackers

Earlier on this offseason, John Harbaugh joined BaltimoreRavens.com and spoke about the plans for Queen as well as fellow rookie Malik Harrison this season when they get immersed into their new Baltimore defense.

As he said, there figures to be some diversity in what they will do, but the duo will see the field a ton.

“We’ll play him probably at MIKE for the most part, right there in the middle. Let him use his speed and instincts to run around and make plays in all 3 phases and be a 3 down guy both in our base package and sub package,” Harbaugh explained. “Those guys will be rolling in there at those linebacker spots and we’ll see how much play time they earn. We expect them to earn a lot of playing time and play a lot of football this year. We’re really fired up about those guys.”

Given the team’s needs on defense, it’s safe to understand why anyone would be fired up about Queen and also Harrison. The pair are aggressive and tough, and are rock solid at positions where the Ravens had a big need after last season’s epic playoff collapse.

The quicker the rookies see the field and get accustomed to the pace of play, the better it will be for the Ravens in the end as the season progresses.

Ravens Roster Rated NFL’s Best for Under 25 Talent

Once again, the Ravens are getting some huge love for how they’ve constructed the roster. Recently, Football Outsiders along with ESPN took a look at ranking the rosters in the league with talent 25 and under. Perhaps not surprisingly, Scott Spratt found that Baltimore is in elite standing moving forward for their future in 2020 and beyond.

In terms of the reasoning why, the big conclusion was it goes beyond the quarterback position for the Ravens, who are stacked in a multitude of ways on offense and defense now thanks to how they’ve built the team. Here’s a look at what Spratt wrote about the team’s standing:

“But the Ravens don’t need Jackson to solve all of their problems. They continue to use a system that takes advantage of Jackson’s talents, but they have also accumulated exceptional young depth on both sides of the ball. Jackson’s favorite target — Mark Andrews — came from his same 2018 draft class. The third-round tight end finished seventh with 123 DYAR at a position whose efficiency leaders tend to be more experienced veterans and made his teammate and fellow tight end Hayden Hurst expendable in a trade with the Falcons. Jackson seldom needed to open up the offense beyond its running game and tight end targets, but 2019 first-rounder Marquise Brown still stretched the field with more than one-fifth of his catches coming on passes thrown 20 or more yards in the air. Miles Boykin can do the same and should also contribute more in the red zone in 2020 with his exceptional size at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds and leaping ability. Third-round receiver Devin Duvernay complements Brown and Boykin with his slot quickness, and second-round running back J.K. Dobbins should seamlessly replace an aging Mark Ingram either in 2021 when Ingram’s contract escalates or in 2022 when it expires. Finally, right tackle Orlando Brown was one of five Baltimore linemen with 500 or more snaps and a 1.5% blown block rate or better. His development into a Pro Bowl blocker should help the team survive the loss of retired eventual Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda.

Neither pass-rusher Jaylon Ferguson (15 hurries) nor 25-year-old Tyus Bowser (22) ascended to fully replace Za’Darius Smith (66), who left for the Packers in 2019 in free agency. But the Ravens maintained a top-three pass defense thanks in large part to excellent coverage anchored by All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Humphrey’s 67% coverage success rate and 5.0 allowed yards per target were top six among positional qualifiers, ahead even of Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore (57%, 6.4). If the Ravens had any weakness in 2019, it was on run defense. But the team likely erased that deficiency with its first- and third-round draft selections of linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison, the former of whom has the speed and athleticism to excel in coverage and play all three downs. The Ravens have so much young talent that they could have pushed for the top spot in these rankings even without Jackson under center.”

As a whole, this should lead in the team’s placement near the top of the league for years to come. The Ravens draft well, have a solid young roster and figure to be at the doorstep of the NFL’s elite for the next decade or more as a result considering this young talent.

If Queen and Harrison go on to become stars as many expect, this will be yet another feather in the cap for the team. For now, the duo is off to a solid start in their new city.

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