Training Camp Competition: Inside Linebacker

(From left to right) ILB Malik Harrison and LB Kristian Welch

As we prepare for the start of training camp on July 27, here's a look at how each position group is shaping up:

In the Hunt

  • Patrick Queen
  • Josh Bynes
  • Malik Harrison
  • Kristian Welch
  • Diego Fagot
  • Zakoby McClain
  • Josh Ross

Projected Starters

Entering his third season, Queen is looking to take another step in his development and become a dominant three-down inside linebacker. The 2020 first-round pick has big aspirations after flashing his immense potential in his first two seasons. Queen moved to weakside linebacker midway through last season, which he said allowed him to play faster and make more plays. This year, he could be tasked with more. The Ravens re-signed Bynes after he reunited with Baltimore midway through last year and provided a steadying force in the middle of the unit. He started the final 12 games and played 61 percent of the snaps.

Best Battle

The No. 3 spot is up for grabs after the departure of Chris Board (Detroit Lions) in free agency. It's possible that another safety, such as Chuck Clark, Kyle Hamilton or Tony Jefferson, could rotate in as an extra linebacker in some packages, but a third inside linebacker will still see significant time. Board played one-third of the defensive snaps. The contest is likely between Harrison and Welch. Harrison is a 2020 third-round pick who started the first five games last year but was replaced by Bynes and then missed a chunk of time due to a calf wound. He played only one defensive snap upon his return. This is a big training camp for the big-bodied linebacker, who did some cross training at outside linebacker last season. Welch is a former undrafted product from Iowa who is also entering his third season. He's been a special teams standout who is looking to carve out a bigger defensive role.

Under the Radar

The Ravens have three undrafted rookies in camp: Fagot, McClain and Ross. Fagot is a Midshipman who earned a roster spot after a tryout and being cleared by the Navy. He's the biggest of the three. Ross played under Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald at Michigan. McClain was a second-team All-SEC selection who led Auburn in tackles the past two seasons. Baltimore has a long history of finding a roster spot for undrafted linebackers who can excel on special teams and one of the three could be next.

Related Content