Not unlike LSU teammate Joe Burrow, after being off-the-radar of many draftniks heading into the season, Patrick Queen has emerged as one of the 2020 NFL Draft’s top prospects at his position. He is a good tackler with excellent speed and played a big role in LSU’s National Championship season. Let’s dive into his profile.
Pros: Queen has the speed that the Bengals have been lacking at the linebacker position since... well, forever. He has demonstrated that he is an athletic match with running backs in coverage. He is effective in zone coverage; gaining desired depths in his drops, reading the quarterback, and breaking on the ball with speed.
Queen is a smart player who makes fast reads and gets to where he needs to be. He is an excellent tackler with powerful hips. He also has the nastiness that you look for in a linebacker.
Cons: Like many college linebackers, he isn’t asked to do very much in coverage. As a shorter linebacker, he may struggle if asked to match up with tight ends man-to-man. Also, his ball skills are hard to gauge on film. It would have been nice to see him in drills at the combine, but he pulled out after tweaking his hamstring running the 40-yard dash.
If he is unable to get off of a block with his initial move, or if he is unprepared to take on a block altogether and does not have a plan to disengage, he can struggle.
Red Flags: His hamstring injury at the combine was minor, but the fact that Queen left LSU with minimal starting experience is a slight concern. He didn’t rack up a ton of production compared to his peers, but younger prospects like him run into those troubles from time to time.
NFL Comp: Deion Jones
Bengals Fit: Linebacker has been a need for the Bengals for years. Their most recent attempt to solve the problem was Preston Brown, but they are long past due for an athletic upgrade at the position and that is exactly what Queen provides.
In the past two seasons, Bengals linebackers have not only struggled in coverage, they have also struggled to make open field tackles when balls were completed in front of them. Queen provides an improvement in both of these areas.
Queen could be groomed behind free agent signee Josh Bynes in their base defense and plugged in as a nickel backer alongside beside second-year player Germaine Pratt. The options are a plenty.
Draftability: This could be the problem. Queen’s draft stock has steadily risen over the past several weeks and he should be selected in the back half of the first round. With limited draft capital, it is unlikely that the Bengals would trade up to get him.
Summary: Queen is an excellent player with sideline-to-sideline speed who should be a day-one starter in the NFL.
He wins against the run with his speed and intelligence, making fast reads and getting to his run-fit before the blocker can get to him. If he is prepared to take on a block, he can do so quickly, but when he allows the blocker to get engaged, he struggles.
What he has shown in the pass game has been impressive. Although it is unclear how strong his ball skills are, he makes good reads and fast breaks in zone coverage. In man coverage he has shown the ability to match up with running backs effectively out of the backfield.