The Ravens offense had a dismal performance Saturday night against the Bills. In fact, the Ravens offense throughout the preseason has not promoted much confidence at all. However, through all three games, there has been one lone bright spot: UDFA running back Taquan Mizzell.
Mizzell, a former Virginia Cavalier, has been the Ravens preseason star on offense with 103 rushing yards and 81 receiving yards, both leading the team. In addition, Mizzell is the team leader in both carries and catches. Mizzell’s 3.3 yards per rush is the highest among runners with double digit carries.
With the ball in his hands, Mizzell has been both quick and elusive. His highlight tape from Virginia shows exactly what we have seen so far from him in the NFL. He catches passes out of the slot in the video, like he has at times with Baltimore, and he is able to avoid many tackles due to his quickness and ability to make sharp cuts.
The Ravens offense has worked hard to get the ball to its most productive preseason offensive player, but come the Ravens’ regular season opener against the Bengals, will we see Mizzell on the roster?
Before Kenneth Dixon was ruled out for the year, Mizzell’s shot of making the roster where slim to none. But even with Dixon gone, the road is still tough for Mizzell. On the Ravens first official depth chart released prior to the preseason opener, Mizzell was fifth and last running back on the depth chart, this was after Dixon suffered his injury.
Depending on whether the Ravens choose to keep three or four running backs, Mizzell thus has either one or two people two leap frog. Mizzell has pretty decisively moved past Bobby Rainey, and if the Ravens choose to keep four running backs, then Mizzell is absolutely on the roster. However, it is much more likely that the Ravens keep only three.
Terrance West and Danny Woodhead are locks to make the roster, leaving Javorius Allen and Mizzell to battle for the last spot. Allen has seen his fair share of touches this preseason as well. He has both the second most carries and the second most catches. Allen is second on the team in rushing with 86 yards (all stats in this story via the Ravens official website).
Despite not producing to the same level as Mizzell, I believe it is going to be Allen that gets the final roster spot. As Baltimore Beatdown’s Kyle P. Barber noted in his 53-man roster predictions, Allen has special teams value, which undoubtedly will give him an advantage.
In addition, Allen brings more experience than Mizzell. During his rookie year, Allen showed flashes of really high potential. I believe that the Ravens think he still has that in him.
It would no doubt be hard to not see Mizzell on the 53-man roster given how well he has played this preseason. Unfortunately, I believe Mizzell will find himself on the outside looking in.