Nobody wants to start at the expense of a teammate, but sometimes things just don’t go as planned.
LSU’s Patrick Queen didn’t get his first taste of starting action until (former) teammate Devin White was forced to sit after being charged with Targeting. Queen responded well and wound up starting four of LSU’s last five games in 2018. Queen played well at the end of But as the 2019 season started, Queen once again found himself on the bench, trying to improve and having to wait for another opportunity.
That opportunity came with an injury to Michael Divinity, and Queen didn’t look back. He established himself as a leader on the LSU defense once he got on the field consistently, preparing well during the week and playing with football IQ, and instincts — as well as the athleticism to act on them.
The New York Giants need to improve the speed of their defense and have been in need of drafting a young off-ball linebacker for some time. Could Queen get his opportunity in the NFL in New York?
Prospect: Patrick Queen (LB, LSU)
Games Watched: vs. Texas (2019), vs. Florida (2019), vs. Auburn (2019), vs. Oklahoma (2019)
Red Flags: None
Games Played (starts): 39 (16)
Tackles For a loss: 17.5
Games Played (starts): 14 (11)
Tackles For a loss: 12.0
Best: Instincts, football IQ, communication, athleticism
Worst: Play strength, size
Projection: A starting off-ball linebacker with scheme versatility.
LSU linebacker Patrick Queen has impressive football IQ and good athleticism for an off-ball linebacker role in the NFL. Queen is an active communicator during the pre-snap phase, routinely making adjustments and communicating with teammates. He shows very good football IQ and instincts, routinely taking accurate first steps in the opening moments of the play. Queen consistently begins a snap by anticipating the direction of the play and moving accordingly. He does a good job of using his hands to keep blockers from engaging at the second level as well as around the line of scrimmage. He uses his athleticism well to navigate the trash around the line of scrimmage, quickly finding holes and a route to the ball carrier.
Queen is a good blitzer at the line of scrimmage or from the second level. He shows good timing in his blitzes to take advantage of holes in the offensive line, as well as a good bust into the backfield to disrupt the passer. Queen is also disciplined enough to be used as a part of a stunt, creating opportunities for teammates.
Queen has good range in coverage, enough to disguise his intentions before dropping into coverage. Once in his zone, he moves well, showing the ability to cover a relatively large area. He also has the ability to turn and run with runningbacks, tight ends, and some receivers. He was frequently used to show pressure in the A or B-gaps, only to retreat into zone coverage.
Queen will need to build better play strength to consistently take on blockers at the NFL level. He struggles to disengage from blockers if he fails to keep them from latching on with his hand usage. Likewise, his play strength is an issue tackling. While does a good job of consistently wrapping up, he is more of a drag-down tackler than a hitter. Stronger players will likely be able to shed his tackles at the NFL level. Finally, his lack of length can be an issue in pass coverage, as taller receivers can high-point the ball over him.
Overall Grade: 6.4 - Has the traits to become a starter early in his NFL career. Should be an immediate contributor for any team he joins. An early Day 2 or late Day 1 value. [Grading Scale]
Patrick Queen has the upside to be a starter at the NFL level. His football IQ, instincts, communication, and athleticism are sought after traits at the NFL level.
Queen might need to begin his career as a nickel linebacker who is brought on in obvious passing situations while he builds his play strength enough to routinely take on bigger, stronger NFL players. But once he is able to do so, he should be able to secure a starting job in most defensive schemes.
Teams will want to be careful to ask him to not gain too much mass while trying to improve his play strength. While his greatest asset is between his ears, he has enough athleticism to act on his instincts in real time, letting him play fast. Teams should be careful to avoid compromising his play speed in order to improve his play strength. If Queen is only ever an off-ball linebacker and never a “downhill thumper”, so be it. Given the importance of winning the middle of the field, his ability to play in space should take precedence.