Ravens' Trenton Simpson In Position For Breakout Year

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Trenton Simpson could be a breakout player in his second NFL season.
Nov 12, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Ravens linebacker Trenton Simpson (30) takes the
Nov 12, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Trenton Simpson (30) takes the / Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Baltimore Ravens are a star-studded team -- Lamar Jackson, Derrick Henry, Roquan Smith, Mark Andrews, Marlon Humphrey, Kyle Hamilton -- and a player like Zay Flowers on his way to potentially becoming a star. The 2024 rookie class shows plenty of promise in Nate Wiggins, Adisa Isaac, and TJ Tampa.

However, linebacker Trenton Simpson was Pro Football Focus' pick to be the Ravens' potential breakout player of 2024:

"The Ravens lost not only defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald but also standout linebacker Patrick Queen this offseason," PFF writes. "The most likely to fill Queen’s big shoes is Simpson, a third-round pick from a year ago. Simpson played only 49 snaps in 2023 but was effective, earning a 76.3 overall grade as well as a 77.4 coverage grade. If Baltimore wants to repeat its strong defensive efforts from 2023, Simpson will be tasked with stepping up."

The 6-2, 238-pound, second-year linebacker was the 87th pick in 2023. He was the No. 71 player on PFF's draft big board.

PFF touted Simpson's ability as a modern, coverage linebacker.

"Simpson is the kind of rangy, fluid athlete everyone is looking for at linebacker. He even played the slot role in Clemson's defense back in 2021. He allowed only 406 yards in his career on 612 coverage snaps," PFF wrote.

PFF also touted his size -- and the speed and athleticism of which he uses his frame.

"There are only so many people that size who can play off-ball linebacker in the NFL, and Simpson is one. That’s something NFL defensive coordinators can work with," they wrote. "Simpson can be your tight end eraser or even flip over to the slot in a pinch."

Despite the praise he earned, there were still holes in his game PFF thought he needed to improve to be more complete as a coverage linebacker:

"He’s such an easy mover who can stick with tight ends or running backs in man coverage, but he can get stuck in mud when he has to maintain relationships in zone."

In their "bottom-line analysis", PFF wrote that Simpson "could benefit from a simplified role out of the gate."

Considering how the Ravens used Simpson last season, it is safe to say he was properly introduced to the NFL level. Now Simpson will be looked upon to fulfill a big role in the Ravens' defense.

Look for Simpson to surprise in 2024.

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Michael France