When C.J. Mosley left for the New York Jets, it hurt more than the Baltimore Ravens thought it would. The void has now been filled:
When the Baltimore Ravens lost C.J. Mosley in free agency, letting him go was the savvy move. The market value for Mosley was way higher than what he actually brought to the table. He was a player the Ravens wanted to keep, but there was a ceiling to the number they could offer. The Ravens even trying to keep Mosley shows you how much they valued him.
The Ravens defense needed Mosley more than they thought. The 2019 defense got off to a rough first quarter of the season. This was partially due to injuries in the secondary, however in the Ravens last loss of the regular season, it was a total defensive failure. Nick Chubb stomped on the Ravens shield and he broke it. Linebacker was a huge issue for the Ravens.
The Ravens signed Josh Bynes for another stint with the purple and black. They also signed L.J. Fort. Domata Peko, Justin Ellis, Jihad Ward. To make up for the shortcomings in the front seven Baltimore made a a couple waves of moves. They needed to bring in everybody they could to build up and maintain a solid defense for the rest of the season.
What the Ravens learned in the 2019 season is that premium talent at the linebacker positions are very important to them. While Mosley had his shortcomings, he was one of the keys to the Ravens defense working.
Instead of it taking a village, the Ravens wanted one player that would be the captain of the defense for years to come. The Ravens used tape to hold off the water from sinking the ship. In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Ravens made the repairs to the position.
They drafted Patrick Queen with their first round pick. Whether he’s completely ready or not to be a star, Baltimore has premium talent at linebacker. Queen is perfect for the Ravens because he’s got great acceleration and he plays fast. Queen has the instincts and the talent to be a star.
The Ravens found the future leader of their defense. In the mean time, Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Matt Judon, Chuck Clark and Marlon Humphrey will be the leaders. Queen is almost the defensive equivalent of Lamar Jackson, a player with a surplus of athleticism and all the intangibles and football smarts to be a game changer. He’s the leader of tomorrow and a play-maker of today.
The 2019 defense had average play at the linebacker position. The 2020 defense may not have a ton of experience but the combination of Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison and L.J. Fort is better than the combination of Patrick Onwuasor, Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort. With all do respect to the trio of most of the 2019 season, it’s not that close in terms of raw talent.
The bottom line:
Last year the Ravens made it work with quality players that lacked star quality. This year they have a superstar talent in Patrick Queen. The Ravens defense is always better when they have a linebacker with premium talent. From Ray Lewis, to Daryl Smith to Mosley, the Ravens have always found that having a great player smack dab in the middle of the defense makes up for a lot of things.
The Ravens shouldn’t have overpaid Mosley, but we can’t ignore how drastically different the team was without him. There was a void. It has been filled. The Ravens went one year without a Pro Bowl caliber player at inside linebacker and they basically said “That’s enough of that.” While Harrison has a lot of promise, Queen is the premium player they needed so they could say goodbye to the side effects of losing C.J. Mosley.