The Ravens drafted Clemson’s Trenton Simpson with their third-round pick (No. 86 overall), adding one of the best inside linebacker prospects in the class and a player considered the No. 43 overall overall prospect in Pro Football Network’s industry consensus big board.
2022 stats: 77 tackles (four for loss), 2 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles, three passes defended
Measurables: 6-2, 235 pounds, 4.43-second 40-yard dash
NFL.com profile: “Chiseled weakside linebacker with rare speed for the position to run down the action in all directions. Simpson played inside in 2022 but displayed average play recognition and a lack of patience that saw him get caught in traffic near the line. He can play run-and-hit football with his speed when playing outside. He needs to cut back the arm tackles and pursue with better angles to the ball. He’s a premium athlete capable of squeezing routes from zone and attacking the pocket as a blitzer. Simpson isn’t quite game-ready yet, but players with his traits and range eventually find the field.”
Team need: Inside linebacker wasn’t considered a position of need, especially with All-Pro Roquan Smith expected to stabilize the spot for the long term, but the ascendent Patrick Queen’s future was a subject of speculation entering the draft. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta declined to comment on whether the team would exercise his fifth-year option for 2024 on Thursday. After Simpson was tweeted, Queen tweeted, “Sheesh.”
Malik Harrison, entering the final year of his rookie contract, also has starting experience. Kristian Welch, Josh Ross and Del’Shawn Phillips are all reliable special teams contributors.