Ravens rumored plan to replace Patrick Queen at LB is confusing

The Ravens are making some unusual moves.
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens need to figure out how to replace Patrick Queen, as the former first-round pick signed with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers after a Second-Team All-Pro appearance last year. It seems as though Plan A for Baltimore will be trying to lean on internal draft picks being promoted to a bigger role.

2023 third-round pick Trenton Simpson seemed to be selected almost exclusively to succeed the expensive Queen as All-Pro Roquan Smith's running mate. The latest buzz, however, suggests that Simpson shouldn't go telling his friends that he has the job locked down.

According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, the Ravens aren't going to automatically make Simpson the starter at linebacker. The Ravens will give anyone on the roster a chance to unseat Simpson as a starter, as Baltimore already has a trio of backups looking to claim that No. 1 spot next to Smith.

Zrebiec mentions that special teams ace Chris Board, 2022 undrafted free agent Josh Ross, and veteran Malik Harrison (who was brought back on a one-year contract) will all get a shot to unseat Simpson as one of the starting linebackers. Losing his grip on that job could be a damning indictment of Simpson's skill.

Will Trenton Simpson replace Patrick Queen at likebacker for the Baltimore Ravens?

Simpson was regarded as one of the biggest steals of the 2023 NFL Draft, as the play many thought had a chance to be picked in the first round fell to No. 86 overall despite tremendous athletic testing and speed. The former Clemson star looked solid during his limited action in regular defensive snaps.

Harrison is a tremendous box linebacker, but he's not the best in coverage. Board has played more than 25% of defensive snaps once in six years, and Ross has a combined two tackles to his name. If Simpson loses the job to one of them, that is a sign the Ravens made a mistake with a Top 100 pick.

The linebacker class in the 2024 NFL Draft is regarded as one of the weakest positions in this cycle, as there is a good chance not one player will be picked in the first round. This leaves Baltimore largely unable to address the loss of Queen via the draft due to the other pressing needs.

If the Ravens want to start the player with the highest ceiling, Simpson is the man for the job. However, considering he hasn't proven much in the league, auditions for this starting role are still ongoing.