First-round rookie linebacker Patrick Queen was an immediate starter in the middle of Baltimore's defense, a high honor previously bestowed upon Ray Lewis and C.J. Mosley.
But Queen faced his first NFL adversity last Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs when he watched from the sideline late in the game, replaced by fourth-year linebacker Chris Board on a key defensive series.
As was the case with certainly more than one Ravens defender, Queen had a tough night against the Chiefs. Well, the rookie didn't stay sidelined for long.
Right back in the center as a starter in Week 4, Queen announced himself with a one-armed goal-line demolition of Washington running back Peyton Barber.
After Sunday's game, Washington Head Coach Ron Rivera called Barber a "hammer." Who was the hammer and who was the nail on this play?
"When they ran the ball, it was basically just, 'See ball, get ball,'" Queen said.
Queen led the Ravens with a staggering 12 tackles, including nine solo and three for loss. He played 80 percent of the defensive snaps. That is stuffing the box score.
Queen is now tied for 14th in the NFL in tackles so far this season. He and fellow first-round inside linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. (Los Angeles Chargers) both have 33. But Queen has four tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble while Murray has just one tackle for loss among those categories.
The Ravens drafted Queen to be a three-down linebacker and plugged him into the starting lineup despite the lost practice time from Covid. It's a lot to ask, but Queen has handled it well.
Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale's one demand was that Queen, who has blazing speed and top-flight athleticism overall, play at 100 miles per hour. The Ravens knew there would be some mistakes, but they wanted to see him flying around the field.
So far, Queen has done exactly that. He was everywhere Sunday in Washington.
"He played really well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday after watching the tape. "The run game, I'll tell you, he made a lot of good plays. He was sorting the schemes. He read the schemes well. He made a bunch of tackles for us at the point of attack and also, some rally tackles, too."
Harbaugh said Queen is doing well in his pass coverage, but still has room to improve, particularly in his zone coverage, which is the hardest part of the game for young linebackers because there's a lot to sort out and patterns to read.
Queen had a lot on his plate with all the Chiefs' pre- and post-snap shifts, sweeps and movements, but it's an experience he'll learn from.
"That was a tough game for all of us. They had us on the ropes," Harbaugh said. "I went back and watched the tape on Patrick and I thought the tape was better than the feeling during the game. But he had a really good game against Washington and we're real pleased with him."
Defending college football champion LSU had five players selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (pick No. 32) bested Queen a couple times on "Monday Night Football" last week.
Now Queen gets a shot at another former LSU teammate in Joe Burrow – the No. 1-overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
"It's a division game, and we need to get that win," Queen said. "I know Joe; I've been a teammate of his, and I know he's going to have them fired up. So we're just going to have to come in, go to work, and do what we did this week."