Roquan Smith is looking forward to mentoring rookie linebacker Trenton Simpson.
Smith has returned to the Under Armour Performance Center for the team's offseason workouts, and the All-Pro Bowl inside linebacker has already connected with Simpson. Seeing the potential in Baltimore's third-round draft pick from Clemson, Smith plans to take the rookie under his wing.
"I've heard a lot about Trenton from friends about the way he played in college – fast," Smith said. "The word is that he's a good pick for us, a steal for where we got him. They're telling me how twitched up he is, fast.
"You get him in the right system, and the big dogs we have up front, he'll definitely be able to help. He seems really hungry from the few conversations we've had. I'm excited about it."
Speaking of excitement, it was hard to top the reaction from Simpson and his family after the Ravens drafted him. Tears were shed, screams filled the room, and it was clear that reaching the NFL was a dream fulfilled for Smith.
Simpson said after the draft that Smith was a player he admired growing up. Simpson was born in Columbus, Ga., and spent most of his childhood moving around to different military bases in Georgia as the family followed his father's career. Simpson first noticed Smith when he was the country's top inside linebacker playing for the Georgia Bulldogs.
"He won the Butkus Award. … It's going to be a pleasure playing with him, and I know I'm going to be able to take a lot from him and his mindset," Simpson said. "He's a dog. He plays hard, he plays the right way, and there's a reason why he's the highest paid linebacker in the NFL right now."
Despite being a talented first-round pick, Smith said he had plenty to learn when he was rookie with the Chicago Bears. The veterans led by example, and Smith said he would do the same with Simpson.
"I'm just going to be myself and think back to when I was a rookie," Smith said. "There was a guy, Danny Travathan, that was in front of me who I looked up to. I tried to soak up all the knowledge that I could because he had more years in the game, way more experience. I stuck with him, and he helped me along.
"It comes down to being a pro. Taking care of your body. Time management. Trying to do everything you can to be the best, and not accepting no for an answer."
The Ravens expect Simpson to contribute immediately and see his potential to develop into a versatile linebacker who can help them in a variety of ways alongside Smith and Patrick Queen. During his college career, Simpson had 165 tackles and 13 sacks as a linebacker who could defend the run, blitz quarterbacks and cover tight ends in pass coverage.
"He's versatile; he's a run and hit linebacker," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I think when we blitz, he'll help us. Then, special teams – he's going to definitely be a part of that. He already started talking about that on the phone. He's going to be on all the special teams stuff. So, it's always great to add speed. He's a missile. To add that kind of mindset to our defense and our special teams is a big plus."
With Simpson joining the inside linebacker rotation that also includes Malik Harrison, Kristian Welch, Josh Ross and Del'Shawn Phillips, Smith is stoked about Baltimore's defense.
"I think our defense is going to be scary," Smith said. "I thought it had scary potential before, with the guys we have here and (Defensive Coordinator) Mike Macdonald at the helm. I'm a big fan of Mike's as a DC. I think it's going to be great. We all should be looking forward to it."