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Ravens running back stable looks strong as they head into 2018

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

In only 12 starts, Alex Collins produced just shy of 1,000 yards in 2017. His dynamic running style paired with a strong offensive line also brought in six touchdowns on the ground. But after the Ravens left the running back position alone in both free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft, both the man and the franchise are confident in his play.

“Throw me out into the fire and I’ll show you my capabilities,” Collins said at organized team activities. “That’s my main focus when I’m out here. Let them know in here now that I can do it, I want to do it, and I can take the load. It’s just as far as if they’re ready for me to do that or not.”

But he’s not the only capable tail back on the roster. Kenneth Dixon returned to the field for OTAs also, after suffering a torn meniscus in 2017.

The return of Dixon could bring about another dynamic playing style. Both Collins and Dixon are elusive, but the power Dixon brings deserves recognition. This could become an incredible tandem for the Ravens. Both are threats in the running game and are capable players in the passing game, with their stats nearly even in the category. I expect whoever becomes better as a receiver to become the starter, but also watch for pass-protection to be a focus. Won’t stay on the field long if you can’t protect Joe Flacco.

Beside Kenneth and Alex is Javorius Allen. Buck’s been a solid contributor for the Ravens for years now, with most of his work coming in as the spell back. He has caught passes, broke off big runs and moved the chains in many forms. In 2017, Buck produced nearly 600 yards on the ground and another 250 yards on 46 receptions. He reeled in a total of six touchdowns, too.

This is a three-headed beast of a backfield, though they aren’t receiving the attention right now. In fact, Bleacher Report ranked the Ravens 18th in the league for best running back unit. It feels low, but it’s hard to argue against the teams ahead.

Collins was an animal last season, and he did so in only 12 starts. If Dixon can keep the knee working properly, I fully expect both to break off big plays in 2018.