In the better or worse series, we will take a look at each position group and rate if the Ravens have improved or regressed and explain why. Today's series is on the running back position
2014 Running backs:
Justin Forsett, Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro (R), Fitzgerald Toussaint, Kyle Juszczyk
Current Running backs:
Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Kyle Juszczyk, Javorius Allen (R), Terrence Magee (R), Kiero Small (R)
After a DUI arrest, the Ravens parted ways with Bernard Pierce. Already the odd man out before the incident, it only further cemented his status with the team. Returning the rest of the roster at this position, they added three additional players through the 2015 NFL Draft and the undrafted free agency period. The Ravens probably won't go into the season carrying 5 running backs and two fullbacks as they have far more pressing areas where they need depth, but it does give the Ravens one heck of a training camp battle this season. You can be sure that the final roster will be worthy.
The departure of Bernard Pierce is not a big deal. Before his release, Pierce initially had the look of the next Ravens' starting rusher, but then stopped producing. Even behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. Pierce failed to crack 4 yards per carry and added very little as an option out of the backfield.
While no one knows how Allen, Magee or Small will turn out, Allen at least looks to be an immediate upgrade over Pierce for the backup spot. With a season under his belt, Lorenzo Taliaferro should be picking up the scheme a little better and the game should be slowing down for him. If both of those hold true, then the Ravens will have a much better backup running back in 2015 than he was in 2014.
The one in the one-two punch that the Ravens will likely want to carry into the season is Justin Forsett. Even though Forsett is another year older, he performed excellently in 2014 and is continuing to work hard this offseason. The Ravens rewarded the journeyman rusher with a nice contract and Forsett is making sure that he earns it based on his workout regiment. With new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman on the team, Forsett and company could have an even better overall year as they could catch more passes out of the backfield for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Overall, it is not a ton of difference in the 2014 squad, but the Ravens have eliminated some of the dead weight from last year and replaced it with rookies that still hold promise and potential. I personally mark this an upgrade for the 2015 team.