INDIANAPOLIS – The rest of the defensive prospects wrapped up the media access Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Here are five things learned on Day 4.
1. Patrick Queen has come a long way in just one year.
The LSU linebacker didn’t even begin 2019 as a starter, but ever since getting his chance with the Tigers, the speedy Queen has become a rising star and is now being discussed as a mid-to-late first-round pick.
Just one year as a starter has raised experience questions, though, and Queen also has heard doubts about his run-stopping ability between the tackles. That brought him to Indy ready to stand up for himself.
“I feel like people are taking into consideration that I’m not a run-stopper, and I feel like that I am,” the 6-foot, 229-pounder said. “I guess they question it because of my size. I guess that’s a problem with some people, that I’m not that big of a linebacker. But at the end of the day, size doesn’t mean anything. It’s all about the heart, and I have the heart to stop the run.”
Queen did confirm having a formal interview with the Packers. He credits LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s teaching and his running back background for helping him diagnose plays quickly. His 4.4 speed is an asset chasing plays to the sideline and covering backs and tight ends.
He plans to be the next high-impact NFL inside linebacker from LSU, following Devin White, Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones. White was a first-round pick last year.
“I take a lot of pride in that,” he said. “Devin was a very vocal guy that got people lined up. Kwon was a very energetic person who got people fired up. Deion was a very aggressive person. So I take every little piece of their game and add it to mine, try to be a versatile player.”
Having worked so hard just to crack LSU’s starting lineup, Queen also prides himself on never taking a play off.
“That’s just competitiveness coming out of me,” he said. “I don’t want to have somebody turn on my tape and say, ‘That’s a bad play. He’s not great,’ or, ‘He’s not aggressive. I want to be that guy when people to turn on the tape they say, ‘We have to watch out for him.'”
2. Packers safety Darnell Savage is appreciated as a mentor.
Darnell Savage‘s partner at safety in his final season at Maryland was Antoine Brooks Jr., who is now headed into the draft. Brooks credits Savage and another former Terps teammate, Carolina Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter, for shepherding him along.
“They taught me a lot,” said Brooks, who also has had a former meeting with Green Bay. “They raised me from a boy to a man in college. I appreciate every moment with them. I practiced hard just for them two. They taught me how to go to class, they taught me about time management. They taught me to be a man.
“As I got older, I just learned from them to be aggressive. You can’t have fear from anything or anybody. They taught me how to watch film, how to go through the playbook. Savage was real hard on me about the playbook.”
Brooks, a 5-11, 220-pound safety, nearly quit football as a senior in high school after sustaining a compound fracture of his ankle and a broken wrist on the same play. Both injuries needed surgeries, and he was ready to give it up.
He didn’t, obviously, and the period of soul-searching helped him understand how passionate he is about the game, which shows in his play.
“Now I’m here, very blessed,” he said. “I won’t give up, never again, with this sport because I love it too much.”