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Ray Lewis Smiled Seeing the Ravens Pick Patrick Queen

Ray Lewis and Patrick Queen
Ray Lewis and Patrick Queen

The Ravens have drafted three inside linebackers in the first round in franchise history – Ray Lewis, C.J. Mosley and now Patrick Queen. Considering Lewis is a Hall of Famer and Mosley went to four Pro Bowls during his five seasons in Baltimore, there's a high standard for Queen.

It took less than a minute for the Lewis comparisons to start when Queen was drafted. Lamar Jackson called Queen "Ray Lewis Jr." when watching the pick live on TV.

This week, Lewis joined "The Lounge" podcast and said he approved of the pick.

"You've got to smile [seeing an inside linebacker drafted]. You can't be watching Derrick Henry go do that to a Ravens defense," Lewis said, referencing the 195 rushing yards the Titans running back racked up in the Ravens' playoff exit.

"To see P. Queen come in, he's a very active 'backer."

What followed from Lewis was an interesting dialogue on how the job description and demands have changed since he entered the league in 1996.

In the days after the draft, Queen was asked for his take on Jackson's comment, and he was gracious about such a flattering comparison.

"When you think about Ray Lewis, you think about an elite linebacker – speed, physicality, aggression, dominance," Queen said. "I feel like I'm more mobile than he was. Not taking anything away from him, he was a great linebacker, probably the best to play. But I've got a lot to live up to. The bar is set high."

Lewis said many people sent him the quote, and he chuckled at the "more mobile than he was" part.

"Yeah, you didn't have to see Jerome Bettis twice at 260, Eddie George at 245, Corey Dillon at 240, Fred Taylor at 235-240," Lewis said with a laugh this week on "The Lounge" podcast. "Oh man, it's a whole other ballgame."

Lewis relayed a story from his rookie year about advice he got from Linebackers Coach Maxie Baughan, who was an NFL linebacker himself in the '60s. Baughan saw the 225-pound Lewis with his shirt off in camp and marveled, "My goodness, you look like a Greek God! I have never seen somebody so … wow!"

Lewis thought it was a compliment until Baughan hit him with a career-altering one-liner.

"You won't last five years," Baughan said.

Baughan told Lewis that he needed to carry 10 to 12 percent body fat to play linebacker in the NFL or he would be constantly injured. "You can't play that cut up and ripped. You've got to put some fat on you somewhere so that it absorbs [the hits]," Baughan said.

Lewis said that forever changed his perspective, and he bulked up his shoulders to handle the load. He only missed more than two games in a season four times during his 17-year career.

Now, as Lewis said, it was a different game back then. Other than the record-setting Ravens offense of 2019, teams don't run the ball nearly as often anymore and most running backs aren't built the same way. The Steelers James Conner, Browns' Nick Chubb and Bengals' Joe Mixon are 233, 227 and 220 pounds, respectively.

Thus, Queen's job description will likely be quite different than Lewis' was 24 years ago, featuring more coverage and pass rush responsibilities for the versatile rookie out of LSU. Still, it's an interesting perspective for the 6-foot-0, 232-pound Queen. And though he's the exception to most backs, Henry steps in at 247 pounds.

Lewis indicated that he lost a bet to former Titans running back rival turned friend Eddie George on the Ravens-Titans playoff game.

"I almost lost my mind in that booth," Lewis said. " … I do like the pick of Patrick Queen. I like the entire draft, actually. It's going to be exciting watching all the pieces come together. Let's see what happens."

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