The Baltimore Ravens have an option to roll with two rookie linebackers as starters for the 2020 season? See why I think they should.
It’s that time of year when rookies are all the rage. The NFL draft is complete, we know where everyone landed and fantasy owners are consumed with rookie drafts. Now, what we all want to know is how each rookie fits in with their new team and what role they will have immediately, with their new team. While every team looks ahead to the future, some of them roll with their rookies right away. The Ravens could have a couple of rookie linebackers that very well might be day-one starters.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted not one but two linebackers in the 2020 NFL draft and very well could roll with the rookies right out of the gate as starters. In the first round, the Ravens drafted Patrick Queen from the LSU Tigers with the 28th overall pick and then followed that up by selecting Malik Harrison, from the Ohio State Buckeyes, in the third round with the 98th overall pick. The Ravens had a big need at the position and addressed it with a purpose. I love when teams know their weaknesses and make it a point of emphasis to improve them. Baltimore did just that with these two draft selections.
Patrick Queen was one of the hottest risers of the draft at the linebacker position and Baltimore made sure he didn’t slide past them. Queen has the ability to diagnose plays and attack quickly to make a stop. He has the athletic ability to cover tight ends and running backs without limitations, while he also keeps pads square and does a great job as a wrap-up tackler. Queen has the mentality and makeup of a lead-dog but will make some mistakes early due to inexperience as a starter. That’s to be expected when you had to wait behind a star such as Devin White. Overall, he has three-down linebacker ability, with very good range. Queen plays fast, physical and with confidence. He can lose leverage at times and will need to improve at shedding blocks, but his overall game is impressive. He’ll be given every opportunity to be a starter for the Ravens.
Senior Stats: 15 games, 85 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
Malik Harrison may have been drafted higher if the class was not so deep. The Ravens again did not miss an opportunity to draft value and fill a need. Harrison is an aggressive, physical, downhill game wrecker, who has experience playing all of the linebacker positions. For as big and tall as he is, he has really good change of direction. He does have some coverage limitations, but showed in the Senior Bowl that he can make plays in the passing game. Harrison does a really good job of stacking and standing up incoming blocks, while using hands to get off blocks routinely. Harrison is also a good pass rusher from any of the linebacker spots. His versatility will be a huge asset for the Ravens as a chess piece that they can use to get match-up advantages. Just like Queen, the Ravens will give him every chance to be a starter out of the gate, as they roll with the rookies.
Senior Stats: 14 games, 75 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 pass breakups
Why do I think that Baltimore will roll with the rookies?
Well, let’s look at their current roster. The current options that the Ravens have are LJ Fort, Chris Board, and Otaro Alaka. None of which have had any significant production in the NFL. Fort’s best season was in 2018 with the Philadelphia Eagles, when he had 34 tackles and two sacks. Board’s best season was his rookie year, in 2018, and has been nothing more than a special teams option. Alaka has yet to make an impact in the NFL at all. As you can see there is nothing special about any of these three. So why wouldn’t Baltimore want to roll with the rookies? Youth with a high ceiling and an opportunity to flourish. It just makes sense to roll with the rookies.
What does this mean in the fantasy football world? They are both definitely worth drafting and could provide a good return sooner rather than later. Rookies are all the rage during draft season, so it helps to know where they are being drafted. Queen is currently being selected as the third overall IDP rookie off the board at an average pick of 16.5. Harrison is currently being selected as the 16th IDP rookie off the board at an average pick of 49.1. These numbers are based on the 30+ rookie drafts that I have collected in my database so far. As you can see, Queen is getting taken much earlier than Harrison. Both are great fits for this defense and I expect both to put up really good numbers as starters. If you are looking for a potential LB1 then Queen is the guy you want, but where you can draft Harrison makes a great value as LB3. The Ravens are ready to roll with the rookies, so you should too. Both will be great assets for your fantasy teams and you will get a great return by adding them to your IDP portfolio.