Baltimore Ravens: Grading the Choose

With the 86th total choose within the 2023 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens chosen linebacker Trenton Simpson out of Clemson, including an especially athletic weapon to Mike Macdonald’s already-dangerous protection.

Our panel of contributors are cautiously optimistic in regards to the choose – cumulatively graded as a B+ – tempering their pleasure over his bodily items with issues about positional worth, want and growth.

Nikhil Mehta

Grade: A-

I’m enthusiastic about Simpson’s potential as a weapon that Mike Macdonald can use in all phases of protection. He performs like a Ravens linebacker: fast to the ball and explosive into contact. As a rookie, Simpson’s absurd motion expertise can instantly contribute on particular groups and in particular roles on protection, largely as on blitzes and in protection matchups. He initiatives as a stable operating mate for Roquan Smith within the Ravens protection who can keep on the sector for all three downs.

But it surely’s Simpson’s ceiling that’s actually tantalizing: place much less difference-maker á la Kyle Hamilton. At Clemson, Simpson’s athleticism allowed him to take greater than 350 profession snaps within the field, at nickel and on the line of defense. Like Hamilton, his sky-high ceiling comes from the potential to impression video games in run protection, as a blitzer and in cross protection from a number of alignments. However the one manner for Simpson to get to that time within the NFL is thru growth – largely psychological – which has been notoriously tough for off-ball linebackers on their rookie contracts. He has to work on the identical issues all LBs do: play recognition, transitions in protection and passing off routes in zone. One thing that not all linebackers must develop is tackling, however Simpson does.

He lacks the correct method to persistently deal with within the NFL, and his growth in that regard will doubtless decide how typically he sees the sector as a rookie. He has extra work to do than Hamilton did coming into the league, however the Ravens will doubtless have an identical imaginative and prescient and plan for Simpson’s growth. I’m nonetheless grading Baltimore’s course of, and it’s powerful to argue with.

Alternate choose: Kelee Ringo

If the Ravens needed an absurd athlete with speedy particular groups impression and long-term upside as an game-changing defender, Kelee Ringo match the invoice. He wants loads of method refinement, too, however has the scale and velocity to cowl any receiver within the league.

Jared Pinder

Grade: B

Simpson is the basic BPA choose right here for the Ravens. Have huge wants at nook and edge? Don’t care, draft the Linebacker.

To not say that Simpson is a foul participant, however his tape was dangerous this yr for Clemson. Nevertheless, that was because of one thing else, as nearly each Clemson defender took a step again in 2022. His tape from 2021 is superior. He was flying throughout the sector making tackles in house and killing it. Simpson is a freak, however he shouldn’t begin instantly. He ought to must earn that beginning spot subsequent to Roquan and Patrick Queen. Will probably be fascinating to see him in a hybrid position. Both manner, Simpson is a stable choose, however with the wants at nook and edge, I can’t put it increased than a B.

Alternate choose: Adetomiwa Adebawore

I perceive that he has query marks about his dimension, and perhaps that was a giant turn-off for the Ravens, however AA was among the best gamers accessible. His run protection may very well be higher, however Adedbawore’s pass-rush means is unbelievable. Sadly he bought sniped by the Colts within the fourth earlier than the Ravens might choose once more. I like Simpson, however the grade of the general draft can be a little bit bit increased if Adebdawore was the choose.

Zachary Siegel

Grade: A-

Simpson was the very best graded off-ball linebacker within the draft, so getting him at 86 was an absolute steal. Once more, Baltimore doing what it does greatest, letting the draft come to them and taking the perfect accessible participant on the board. Simpson ought to match very properly into the present scheme the Ravens run, and will look even higher subsequent to Roquan Smith.

The most important knock I’ve on this man is that he typically relied on his athleticism to make up for being out of place. As most prospects do, he can have some rising and studying and has already dedicated, in his submit draft interview, to working all offseason with Smith to make the bounce to the NFL. Simpson performs with a fireplace and fervour that you simply simply can’t educate, he has a nostril for the ball, and can add a pleasant depth to an already stable linebacker tandem. What this implies for the way forward for Patrick Queen, solely time will inform, however Baltimore drafts linebackers very effectively and I’m hoping this pattern continues with Simpson.

Alternate choose: Jordan Battle         

This alternate choose feels actually on the nostril for Baltimore, however that’s the reason he’s my choose. Whereas Simpson is a pure linebacker and has quite a lot of versatility, a security like Battle is simply going to naturally be extra pliable. Mike Macdonald runs a really safety-heavy model of protection {that a} participant like Battle would thrive in. That being stated, Queen’s future in Baltimore is unsure and the Ravens have quite a lot of expertise on the security place already.

Chris Schisler

Grade: B

There isn’t a doubt that the Ravens bought a superb participant right here. Simpson has the prospect to be the linebacker the Ravens needed Queen to be. Simpson was a superb participant on an ideal Clemson protection and he matches proper into the Ravens’ assault subsequent to Smith, For now, although the Ravens have Queen in place and had larger wants. The Ravens’ linebacking state of affairs is in an excellent place after this choose. The dearth of pleasure behind Queen was one thing that caught out in coaching camp final yr and that shouldn’t be discounted. It is a secure choose and it’s one that ought to work out extra within the close to future than it should in 2023.

You possibly can’t hate the worth, and it’s additionally higher than forcing a choose at a special place. Simpson is a tackling machine and an ideal athlete. It’s uncommon that the secure choose within the draft can be one that’s straightforward to think about a draft steal. The Ravens undoubtedly bought a participant they appreciated. They couldn’t cross him up they usually stayed true to their model of drafting. That is good work, it simply doesn’t blow me away. It’s a stable B. Nothing extra, nothing much less.

Alternate choose: Kelee Ringo

Ringo didn’t get drafted till the following spherical, however I feel he was a steal for the Eagles. He was a flexible defensive again from the perfect protection in faculty soccer. He has nice dimension and athleticism and it might have crammed a much bigger want. Perhaps I’m off as a result of it took till the third choose of the fourth spherical for him to go off the board. However I assumed Ringo was a pure slot in Baltimore.

Kevin McNelis

Grade: B+

This choose screamed greatest participant accessible. The necessity at CB2 was obvious, and depth at EDGE was no secret, however Simpson may have been too good a participant to cross up for LB depth. With Queen’s future unsure, having a man as a contingency plan who was a consensus top-50 participant doesn’t damage.

Alternate choose: Adetomiwa Adebawore

I’ve a sense that EDC and firm gave AA some consideration right here however felt LB depth was extra essential. I used to be sweating at the concept that AA might nonetheless be accessible at #124, however sadly it wasn’t meant to be.

Brennan Stewart

Grade: B+

Ready till the 86th choose was not what many anticipated from Eric DeCosta after the primary spherical, however Trenton Simpson ought to undoubtedly be well worth the wait. To me the choose looks like a tough reset on the RILB place, suggesting that Queen’s future in Baltimore could also be in query (particularly now that his fifth-year choice has been declined). Whether or not Queen performs with the Ravens this season or not, this linebacker corps has sufficient depth to be thought of one of the crucial harmful within the league.

After all the rationale I give this choose a B+ is due to the extra determined wants the Ravens had at different positions at this level within the draft, however with the “greatest choose accessible” technique, one can solely hope that free company shall be sufficient to fill in depth elsewhere (buying and selling is all the time an choice, too).

Alternate choose: Jordan Battle

For this alternate choose, I’ve to go along with Jordan Battle, security, who was picked ninety fifth total by the Bengals (sigh). Trying on the roster, each security positions are shallow: behind Marcus Williams is Ar’Darius Washington, and behind Kyle Hamilton is Geno Stone. That’s it.

Battle began below Nick Saban later in his first yr at Alabama and drew loopy consideration as a junior when he put up 111 yards and two touchdowns off of three interceptions, in addition to a career-high 85 tackles (50 solo).

Rob Shields

Grade: B

Coming into the draft, ILB was not a necessity or one thing anybody was predicting the Ravens to take. Because the draft board fell and with the dearth of picks to commerce up, the Ravens had Simpson fall of their laps. Simpson was thirty fifth on Mel Kiper’s board.  EDC stated he was excessive on the Ravens board. EDC additionally stated that there have been 7-10 guys on the board getting into the third that they felt had been draft worthy.

The belief was that the Ravens would go CB however there was just one true nook taken earlier than Simpson was taken, Garrett Williams. Williams is coming off an harm and fell due to that. I feel the Ravens doubtless had him on their board and would have taken him.

Simpson is a sideline to sideline thumper who can cowl effectively and even performed nook in faculty. He is an ideal positionless defensive participant on this protection. Plus, he’s a long run substitute for Queen. I don’t have a problem with the choose though I do suppose the Ravens have spent far too many sources on ILB over the past a number of years. It’s a devalued place for a motive and whereas I’m all for good gamers being right here, you do have to fret in regards to the whole sources spent on this place. That stated, there may be nothing incorrect with this choose and it’s apparent that this can be a BPA choose.

Alternate choose: Dawand Jones/Chandler Zavala/Kelee Ringo

I had three guys on my record as gamers that I heard good issues about: Dawand Jones, Chandler Zavala and Kelee Ringo. They fell to the 4th spherical for varied causes. I’d have been proud of any of them, as they had been actual wants and gamers that seemingly had been worthy of choice at the moment of the draft.

Cumulative Grade: B+