2012 Players To Watch: Bernard Pierce

Feb 26, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Temple Owls running back Bernard Pierce runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Of course Ray Rice will be the Ravens starting running back in 2012. He may miss a few OTA's and team workouts but the Ravens have every intention of Rice being present come training camp. So expect him to get his usual 250 or so carries and plenty of receptions along with that. Who will end up with those other 100 or so carries that can be so important to a team needing depth for a playoff run.

From the looks of it, that will be Ravens Rookie running back Bernard Pierce. Last season Ricky Williams logged 444 yards on 108 carries and two touchdowns. That is all the Ravens would want out of Pierce but something tells me Pierce has a bit more to offer than that. Last season at Temple Pierce totaled 1481 yards on 247 carries with 27 touchdowns.... in 12 games.

When Williams was brought to the Ravens last season the veteran running back knew his role as Rice's back up. He came in satisfied with the scraps he would be thrown behind the all pro. Williams played well in his role but, let's face it, he wasn't taking over any games in the time he had.

This year with Peirce we have a guy just hitting the prime of his career. A guy that's hungry to prove he can do it at the next level. I wouldn't be surprised to see some big things from Pierce in the time he is given this season. The more and more I think about this pick, the more I really like it.

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