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Analysts Are Wary About Patrick Queen Signing for One Reason



Pittsburgh Steelers Ravens Patrick Queen

The addition of former Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen is widely considered a superb move by Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan, but there are some analyst who are wary of the signing.

The concerns mainly center around if Queen is the same player without Roquan Smith next to him at linebacker. Queen, who’s only 24 and heading into his fifth season, really didn’t display elite play until Smith arrived in Baltimore near the trade deadline in 2022.

In 2023, Queen played in all 17 games, racking up 133 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, six passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble. He was named a second-team All-Pro and was selected to the AFC Pro Bowl squad, his first career honor in each category.

“He’s a former first-round pick who had his struggles,” Eric Eager of SumerSports said on Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Chipped Ham and Football podcast. “And then they brought a guy in like Roquan Smith to kind of help him out, and Patrick Queen was able to shine. … Can he thrive in a linebacker room where he is going to have to be the top guy now? He struggled in that role in Baltimore. Can he emerge? He’s still a young guy.”

ESPN sports analytics writer Seth Walder is also not sold, as he gave the Steelers’ signing of Queen a C+.

“The lingering question with Queen as he heads to Pittsburgh: Was his breakout for real, or was it a product of playing next to Roquan Smith? It’s truly hard to know, but Queen had some impressive numbers,” Walder wrote. “Among off-ball linebackers with at least 30 pass rushes with a pass rush win or loss, Queen had the second-highest pass rush win rate at 34%. His 0.7 yards allowed per coverage snap was better than average (0.9) for the position, per NFL Next Gen Stats. However, his run stop win rate (30%) was below average for his position. Queen recorded 3.5 sacks, had one forced fumble and was named second-team All-Pro. … Still, I’m wary of paying this much for an off-ball linebacker — a non premium position — without a long track record of exceptional play. And it’s also something of a red flag that former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald (now in Seattle), decided to pass on Queen despite a need at linebacker and money to spend.”

Sports talk host Rob Long of 1.057 The Fan in Baltimore echoed Eager and Walder’s statements.

“I don’t know if (Queen) can be the guy without Roquan Smith. … I think Steelers Nation is going to be a little bit disappointed,” Long said on 93.7 The Fan.

Queen is outstanding in coverage, something that’s been a immense struggle for the Steelers in the past several seasons. Queen is finally the long-sought spiritual replacement to Ryan Shazier that the Steelers have been searching for at inside linebacker. Queen will add to the group that includes Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts, giving the Steelers three starting-capable inside linebackers for the 2024 season.

While Eager, Walder and Long expressed concerns, the 33rd Team gave the Steelers an A for signing Queen.

“He’s staying in the AFC North with the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers and will have an opportunity to face his former team at least twice each season. Queen responded to his team’s contract snub by having his best season with a career-high 133 tackles and 3.5 sacks for the league’s top scoring defense. He was named to the second-team All-Pro and was selected to his first Pro Bowl,” Jeff Diamond of the 33rd Team wrote.

“Queen was considered one of the top inside linebackers available in free agency, and the $13.66 million per year deal is a relative bargain for the Steelers. The three-year term gives Queen, 24, a chance to hit the open market again in 2027 when he’s still in his prime.”