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Offseason positional preview: Running back

Wild Card Round - San Diego Chargers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens are a franchise that’s known for being hard hitting and strong in terms of running the football. That was maybe no more true than in 2018, when Lamar Jackson entered the offense and spearheaded one of the historically great rushing offenses the league has ever seen.

Averaging almost 153 yards per game on the ground for the total year (a figure that would’ve been higher if Jackson had played for 16 games) their stable of backs were huge contributors to the success of the 2018 team that took home the division thanks to their ability to help control the clock. Since they were so crucial to the the Ravens this season, let’s take a look at their total outlook for next season:

Current Depth Chart

  • Gus Edwards: ERFA
  • Javorius Allen: UFA
  • Ty Montgomery: UFA
  • Kenneth Dixon: 2019 cap hit = $807,391
  • Alex Collins: Placed on injured reserve, RFA

Offseason outlook:

This is a backfield that is equal parts crowded and complicated. All five of these players have had their fair share of nice moments with Baltimore, and despite most of them being impending free agents, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this group remain together for the most part.

It definitely seems as though Edwards will be back; the undrafted runner out of Rutgers turned heads in the second half of the season with his downhill running style which meshes well with Jackson at quarterback. He’s still listed as Baltimore’s starter, something he definitely earned after coming out of relatively nowhere.

After him, it looks like they’ll have to make a decision between Allen and Montgomery who played comparable roles for the team which makes sense since they’re similar players. They can both fill the receiving back role fairly well, with Montgomery being a better pass catcher while Allen seems to be a better runner.

What’s interesting about the team depth chart is that Kenneth Dixon, who outplayed Allen and Montgomery down the stretch, is still listed below them on it. He’s also the only back on the roster currently under contract for 2019, at least until the tender is applied to Edwards as is expected.

Dixon will more than likely be back if he can keep his head on straight (which he hasn’t always done to be fair), though it’s fair to wonder the same question about his fellow veteran runner. Alex Collins broke out as baltimore’s top offensive weapon in 2017, but disappointed in a returning role this year, having his spot ultimately taken by the few guys listed above.

As a restricted free agent, it wouldn’t be shocking if Collins stays in the picture, though if a team comes in a with a big enough offer, it may not take a ton to pry him away. He likely knows he won’t be the unquestioned starter so if another team ends up being interested in making him that guy for them, it’s possible he requests Baltimore ultimately allows him to seek greener pastures.

We’ll see what happens with what’s been a somewhat nebulous position for the Ravens for the past few years, but for now the 2019 outlooks is pretty solid. Be sure to let us know what you guys think, and to keep it right here for more positional previews on the way.