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Late for Work 3/20: Pundits Debate Trading Another Ravens First-Round Pick

LB Patrick Queen
LB Patrick Queen

Ravens Could Trade Patrick Queen, But Should They?

The new league year kicked off last week and with it has come numerous trades as teams exchange draft picks and players to shake out their respective rosters.

Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton considered other NFL players that could be traded during this period and included inside linebacker Patrick Queen as a possibility.

"Baltimore may eventually let Queen walk away as a free agent with [linebacker Roquan] Smith making $20 million annually and quarterback Lamar Jackson seeking a new deal," Moton wrote. "Instead, the Ravens can command a middle-round pick for Queen, who had a standout 2022 campaign with 117 tackles, nine for loss, five sacks, six pass breakups and two interceptions, allowing an 83.1 passer rating in coverage. If they do, the Colts can offer pick No. 106 (a fourth-rounder)."

The value Moton lists for Queen seems rather low, seeing as Queen's 2022 campaign was his best yet and the Colts in this scenario add a first-round talent who has developed with each season.

However, Moton wasn't alone in considering Queen as a player teams would covet, as The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec noted his rookie deal makes him an enticing option, and the Ravens have yet to determine if they'll be exercising his fifth-year option by May 1.

The Ravens traded 2019 first-round wide receiver Marquise Brown last year after three seasons and got a first-round pick (Tyler Linderbaum) in return. The year before, Baltimore traded offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr., a third-round pick who had developed into a Pro Bowler. Both had requested a trade.

"There's been some speculation about trading Queen because he's entering the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract and the Ravens already have Smith on the books at a big number," Zrebiec wrote. "It seems reasonable if the Ravens can get a prime asset in return."

Trading Queen would save $2.2 million in cap room and bring a return in some form, but Zrebiec notes trading a young, budding talent could generate a new need.

"But Baltimore is a better team with Queen lined up alongside Smith," Zrebiec wrote. "Trading him also potentially creates a need, unless the Ravens are comfortable with Harrison as a full-time starter."

Pundits Consider Ravens a Landing Spot for Offensive Lineman Dalton Risner

With former Ravens offensive lineman Ben Powers signing with the Denver Broncos, the Ravens will be looking for a new starter at left guard for the 2023 season. Though they have possible replacements already on the roster with Ben Cleveland, Patrick Mekari, and John Simpson, Clutchpoints’ Enzo Flojo sees an outside option for the team in Broncos free agent Dalton Risner.

"Dalton Risner played consistently for the Broncos' offensive line in 2022," Flojo wrote. "In addition to his skills in the field, Risner offers leadership and flexibility in different positions. Now, Risner has been consistently average according to his PFF scores, with grades ranging from 59.0 to 64.4 over the past four years… [But] Risner's best might still be ahead of him, and maybe the Ravens can benefit from that."

Flojo could be onto something, as Risner closed out the season in strong fashion. In his final four games, he earned a 79.2 pass blocking grade according to PFF, good for No. 14 among guards in the NFL.

According to CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr, Risner's the best remaining guard on the market.

"The 27-year-old has spent the first four years of his pro career in Denver after the Broncos selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Kansas State," Kerr wrote. "He's coming off a 2022 season where he gave up three sacks and was called for just one penalty on 967 offensive snaps played, according to Pro Football Focus."

Free Agency Moves Benefitting Ravens for the Draft?

After the flurry of free agency begins to cool following the first week, the Ravens appear to be in a more advantageous position when it comes to the NFL draft. Their top needs according to pundits, wide receiver and cornerback, have been the focal point of numerous trades and signings.

So far, two wide receivers have been traded and a plethora more have signed with new teams, including Jakobi Meyers, Allen Lazard and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

According to The Athletic's Nate Tice, signings like the Patriots acquiring Smith-Schuster are opening up avenues for teams to draft other positions. That means the Ravens could gain from seeing wide receiver prospects fall.

"The Patriots decided to save a couple of million dollars per year by bringing in JuJu Smith-Schuster instead of retaining Jakobi Meyers," Tice wrote. "That opens up the Patriots to look to draft an offensive lineman in the first round. Their No. 14 selection matches well with where the top players up front are projected."

The same goes for cornerback, where big names including Jalen Ramsey and Stephon Gilmore have been traded, and teams with picks below the Ravens (Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions) are signing cornerbacks to fill the need rather than draft them.

"[The re-signings] also kept options open for whichever way the Eagles want to go in the draft," Tice wrote. "Cornerback might no longer be a need (unless the Eagles want to inject some youth into the position), but safety and linebacker are spots the Eagles might explore."

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