Ravens’ Roquan Smith lauds Trenton Simpson, ready to compete against Patrick Queen

OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens didn’t make much effort to re-sign inside linebacker Patrick Queen because of the five-year $100 million extension they gave fellow linebacker Roquan Smith and their confidence in Trenton Simspon,

Smith has been impressed by Simson’s work ethic and how hard he has already worked this offseason. The Ravens are confident Simpson, a 2023 third-round draft pick from Clemson, can take over Queen’s starting role in 2024.

Queen signed with their archrival, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Just talking with him this offseason and even last season, I know the type of respect he has for the game and for himself as well,” Smith said about Simpson. “The way he’s been busting his tail all offseason, talking with [strength and conditioning coordinator] Scott [Elliott] and everyone about [how] the guy is busting his tail, wanting to be the best. I know his mindset, so I’m excited. He has all the potential in the world.

“It’s just going to be about putting that on the field week in and week out and just trusting his ability. If he does that, I think he’ll be the best second-year linebacker in the league, in my opinion.”  

While Simpson had a limited role as a rookie, he showed the potential of his play-making ability in the regular-season finale against the Steelers, finishing with five tackles, including his first career sack that forced a third-and-20. He also had two tackles for a loss and played a season-high 26 defensive snaps.

Simpson had 187 tackles, 22 1/2 tackles for loss, and 12 1/2 sacks over three seasons at Clemson. Several draft experts predicted that Simspon would be selected late in the first round of the 2023 draft and the Ravens were able to grab him with the 86th overall pick. When the Ravens picked Simpson, Queen wrote “Sheesh” on social media.

“Trenton is going to have a great season,” general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He has a great attitude. I think he grew as much as anyone this year. He showed up on special teams, he played on defense, he made some plays late in the year. He has as much talent as any inside linebacker in this year’s draft class.”

The Ravens also have Malik Harrison and Chris Board on the depth chart at inside linebacker. However, DeCosta could still draft a player, especially if they can play on special teams because he sees value in the second through fourth rounds.

As for Queen, he signed a three-year, $41 million contract with the Steelers after earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl this past season. Smith said losing Queen is just a reality of the NFL.

“You know, life happens, and he’s somewhere else right now,” Smith said. “I’ve got to tear his picture down in the linebacker room – you know, we have linebackers all over the walls. So, I need to maybe make a video of me punching it or something like that. Or, maybe I’ll ask ‘C-Hort’ [special teams coordinator Chris Horton] to get out there on special teams, maybe a punt play and hopefully to get [on the field] with him.

“But no, I’m happy for him. I’m wishing him all the best, and it’ll be good to see him twice a year. He’s still my guy, but war is war. That’s what it is.”

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