In recent years, some of the NFL’s best, young linebackers have been LSU products. Deion Jones has made a Pro Bowl with Atlanta; Kwon Alexander made a Pro Bowl with Tampa Bay, signed a $54 million deal with the 49ers last spring and helped San Francisco reach a Super Bowl; then there’s of course Devin White, the highest drafted linebacker in LSU history, who was selected fifth by Tampa Bay last April and made the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team.
One trait Alexander, Jones and White all share is their ability to go sideline to sideline. It’s becoming a highly coveted skill as the NFL becomes more of a passing league: linebackers have to be able to shoot gaps and be able to run with tight ends and running backs. Patrick Queen possesses those traits in spades, and it should lead to him hearing his name called in the first round Thursday evening.
Arm Length: 31 5/8”
Hand Size: 10”
Bench Press: 18
Vertical Jump: 35
Broad Jump: 125
2019: 85 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, 2 pass deflections, 1 interception
If Queen’s 2019 wasn’t reason enough to make him a first round pick, the 40 time he ran at Indianapolis sealed it. That’s what NFL teams are looking for in linebackers nowadays. Queen spent 2019 showing he’s a quick processor and can chase down running backs in the open field. He’s the type of linebacker that can stay on the field for all three downs because of how well he can cover.
Queen’s a fluid athlete and can change direction in a hurry; he also has sufficient burst coming out of breaks which gives him a tackling range few linebacker prospects in this draft class have. Couple Queen’s instincts and his closing speed and Queen looks like one of the safest bets in the draft.
There’s two knocks on Queen: he’s a bit small for a linebacker and he only started for a year. Queen can get swallowed up by offensive linemen when trying to defend the run. He can lose leverage and be taken out of plays. You might not see Queen being the one making stops in goal line situations.
There’s also the matter that Queen only started for a year. Not only that, Queen didn’t even start all 15 games last season. Not starting because Devin White’s ahead of you is one thing, but to not start the entirety of your last season and still be considered a Top-15 prospect is unusual. Like we talked about with K’Lavon Chaisson yesterday, there’s still some rawness to Queen’s game that needs to be refined.
Scouts and professional teams love Queen. NFL.com grades Queen as a “year one quality starter.” Queen has the natural ability all teams want in a linebacker and whatever holes he has can be shored up with coaching. Queen has also been projected to go later in the first round, i.e., the better run organizations with superior coaching staffs (New Orleans Saints...….hello). Combine all that and the College Football Playoff’s defensive MVP should be the next great former Tiger linebacker to play in the NFL.