Pittsburgh Steelers’ New LB Receives Big-Time Ranking

Patrick Queen, Mike Tomlin, Ravens, Steelers
NFL Analysis Network

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made some major changes this offseason.

They moved on from disappointing quarterback Kenny Pickett and brought in future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson to start at center, while also trading for Justin Fields to back up Wilson.

They also traded wide receiver Diontae Jackson, along with a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft, to the Carolina Panthers for a sixth-round selection and cornerback Donte Jackson.

But a somewhat underrated move Pittsburgh made was to acquire linebacker Patrick Queen from the Baltimore Ravens. He will team up with edge rusher T.J. Watt to give it one of the better linebacker duos in the NFL.

At USA Today Sports Media Group, Touchdown Wire ranked the 11 best inside linebackers in the league, and Queen came in at No. 11.

“Patrick Queen was yet another Baltimore defender who put together a career year under 2023 defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, and the 2020 28th overall pick out of LSU cashed in big with a new three-year, $41 million contract with $13,840 million guaranteed to play for his former AFC North rival,” wrote Doug Farrar. “The Steelers have been looking in vain for functionally athletic linebackers since Ryan Shazier’s retirement, and based on his 2023 tape, Queen might finally be That Guy.”

Coming in at No. 1 was Fred Warner of the San Francisco 49ers, who Farrar described as “a truly generational talent at any position.”

Steelers are trying to get back to their roots

Mike Tomlin is apparently looking to build this Steelers team in the image of their great squads of the past that won with a hard-hitting defense.

Of course, the game has immensely changed since the days when Jack Lambert and Jack Ham were manning the linebacker spot for the “Steel Curtain” teams, and even since their last Super Bowl-winning team in the 2008 season.

Pittsburgh has some promising young defensive backs, including Joey Porter Jr., a rookie last season who is the son of team legend Joey Porter, a linebacker on their 2005 world championship team. But cornerback is still a position of need, and they could use another viable edge rusher.

But Queen, who made his first Pro Bowl last season, should significantly help. He’s just 24 years of age, so he should still have some room for improvement moving forward. Plus, the fact the Steelers signed him away from the AFC North-rival Ravens should help their playoff chances even more.

The Steelers probably won’t reach Super Bowl LIX or even win their division. But improving a bit on last season’s 10-7 finish could be within reach.

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