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Baltimore Ravens TE praises new starting LB

With Trenton Simpson, the Baltimore Ravens have signed arguably the best linebacker in the 2023 draft, but he did not have much of a chance to shine in his rookie season.

Simpson, who was selected to the All-ACC third team at Clemson, didn't start a single game and recorded just 13 tackles all season. Granted, he played behind two All-Pro linebackers, Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, but with the latter now gone, Simpson will have to step up his game going forward.

Fortunately for the Ravens, Simpson appears to be making a strong impression in OTAs. Tight end Isaiah Likely, who naturally plays with the linebackers a lot, had high praise for Simpson during his media appearance on Tuesday.

“I will give [Trenton Simpson] a little bit of recognition today; he definitely beat me on replay today. I know you all saw that. I don't like to lose much. But he's definitely showing he's ready for the opportunity,” Likely said, according to the team's official website. “He's showing he's taking this offseason well – like a pro. He's definitely showing that what you guys saw on the tape against Pittsburgh, [last season in Week 18] was no coincidence.

“He's fast, he's physical, he listens and he really soaks up everything like a sponge. I mean, whatever Roquan [Smith] tells him what to do during a game – or anyone, even the coach [John Harbaugh] – he takes that and runs with it, and he's not afraid to do something on defense.”

Simpson was measured at 6'2″ and 230 pounds prior to the draft and is extremely fast for someone his size, with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. Likely says Simpson looks even more athletic this offseason, which is a scary thought for opposing offenses.

“Secure. [Trenton Simpson] definitely looks bigger and stronger than last year, and he definitely plays with a lot more [instincts] – and is not quite as patient as last year. He plays with his athleticism and his intuition,” Likely said.

Losing Queen in the offseason was a big blow, but if Simpson can develop as expected, the transition should be relatively easy.

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Anna Harden

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