Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison already face high expectations as rookies for the Baltimore Ravens.
Coach John Harbaugh expects Queen, a first-round pick from LSU, to mostly play at middle linebacker and stay on the field for almost every defensive snap.
Malik Harrison, a third-round pick from Ohio State, will spend much of his time at weakside inside linebacker.
However, both players have the versatility to split roles.
"I think Patrick Queen will play probably at 'Mike' for the most part — right down the middle. Let him use his speed and his instincts to run around and make plays for all three phases, be a three-down guy both in our base package and sub-package," Harbaugh said in a conference call with season ticket holders. "As for Malik, we'll probably start him off at 'Will' in the base package. He also will be representing at 'Mike.' We'll flip those guys around
"Really to say that they'll be at a specific position is probably not actually all that accurate probably because by assignment we flip spots a lot for different things. Sometimes guys play defensive end, sometimes they wind up playing the safety spot."
Queen emerged as one of LSU’s top defenders in 2019 and played the best football of his college career down the stretch, earning defensive MVP honors in the Tigers' win over Clemson in the national championship game.
Last season, he was a regular starter for the first time as a junior and finished with 85 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three sacks. That performance was good enough for him to forgo his senior season and emerge as a first-round prospect in the draft.
Baltimore had never taken a player from LSU in 24 years of NFL Drafts, spanning 201 total selections, including one supplemental pick in 2007.
“You all are going to get the most energetic player from this draft, the most passionate, the most dominant, the most studious person that you’re going to get out of this draft," Queen said. "I bring a lot to the table.”
Harrison was a two-year starter and led the Buckeyes with 75 tackles and added 4.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for losses, and four pass breakups as a senior. A bit of an old-school linebacker, he ranked third in ProFootballFocus.com’s run-stop percentage, a metric that essentially measures impact tackles.
Only Andy Katzenmoyer (23 in 1996), Ryan Shazier (17 in 2012 and 22.5 in 2013) and Matt Wilhelm (19.5 in 2002) had more tackles for a loss from the linebacker position than Harrison in 2019.
At 6-foot-2 5/8 and 247 pounds and with solid strength and massive hands, he’s already ready for the rigors of the NFL’s version of trench warfare.
Harbaugh sees both Queen and Harrison making an immediate impact.
"We'll just see how much playing time they earn," Harbaugh said. "We expect them to earn a lot of playing time and we expect them to play a lot of football this year. We're really fired up for those two guys."