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Big risk? Why Ravens see Patrick Queen as a hit despite inexperience

Nine months ago, Patrick Queen wasn’t thinking about taking over the spot once manned by Ray Lewis. He was wondering whether he would ever get on the field in LSU’s season opener.

Queen barely played in a 55-3 rout of Georgia Southern, the tough reality of losing the battle for a starting job. He wasn’t atop the depth chart for the second or third games, either, but his impressive play in a rotational role earned him a start in Week 4 when an injury forced some shuffling in the lineup.

From that moment, Queen didn’t just flash speed, instinct and playmaking ability on the field. He soared up NFL draft boards almost as rapidly as teammate Joe Burrow.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

In November, Queen made the game-changing interception against Alabama. In January, he hounded Clemson’s backfield in the national title game with 2.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack, earning Defensive MVP honors. In April, he was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 28 overall pick in the NFL draft.1

“He’s not an entitled guy,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “This is a guy that didn’t start for most of his career at LSU. And so, I think this transition to the NFL, that’s going to help him, I think, because it’s a difference coming up to this level of football, with really good players at every single position. It could be a challenge for some guys, and I think Patrick has kind of already undergone that challenge in some respects and he’s thrived.”

Queen is looking to solidify the middle of the Ravens’ defense, where Lewis and C.J. Mosley established Pro Bowl careers. He’s also trying to reward the team’s belief in him.nfl nike jersey cheap

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.

But Ravens officials don’t feel Queen is a gamble at all. When you consider history and his tape, they feel he has the makings of being a steal at the end of the first round.

“With a guy like Patrick, there’s not a rawness to his game,” director of player personnel Joe Hortiz said. “When you take a guy who’s maybe not polished, then you’re having to project that the coaching, and the player’s ability to process and learn, and develop the specifics of the position — then you’re having to project more. With a guy like Patrick, you’re just projecting that he’s going to be even better. Like, next year he’d be a top-10 pick or a top-15 pick versus a top-28 pick.”