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Ravens News 7/30: Lamar’s receivers and more

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens

NFL backfield rankings: All 32 running back units entering the 2020 NFL season - Steve Palazzolo


The Ravens have extracted high-end production from multiple running backs over the last two years, with Gus Edwards averaging 5.2 yards per carry in 2018 to Mark Ingram II averaging 5.0 last season.

Ingram runs downhill with a violent style that fits Baltimore’s run-first approach, and his 0.19 missed tackles forced per attempt ranked 14th in the NFL in 2019. He was also the top-graded receiver among Ravens running backs last season, grading at 78.0 to rank 11th among qualifiers.

Edwards is once again back in the mix, and he may have found a sweet spot as a complementary piece after tallying 136 carries in 2018 and 145 last season. He’ll compete with 2020 second-rounder J.K. Dobbins, who is a strong all-around prospect who has the vision, cutting ability and pass-game acumen to make an immediate impact. Dobbins may be used more in the passing game right away, but was a big-play machine on the ground in college, with his 31 carries of 15-plus yards leading the nation last season.

Justice Hill rounds out the group, and while he did not show well as a rookie, he’s sitting on 4.4 speed that is a scary proposition if deployed within this Ravens offense. Baltimore made a strength even stronger this offseason, and they added even more versatility to the offense with the addition of Dobbins.

AFC training camp battles to watch: Patriots QB, Bills RB, more - Gregg Rosenthal

7. Baltimore Ravens

RB · Mark Ingram vs. J.K. Dobbins vs. Gus Edwards

Running back appeared low on the list of needs for the most prolific rushing attack in NFL history, but general manager Eric DeCosta added Dobbins anyway. A complete back with great subtlety to his skill set, Dobbins projects to transition quickly to the pros. Ingram hopes to hold off Dobbins for another year, while Edwards hopes to hold on to his roster spot.

AFC rookies to watch in 2020: A.J. Epenesa and 15 others who could immediately replace veterans - Chris Trapasso

Rookie: WR Devin Duvernay

Veteran set to be replaced: WR Chris Moore

Moore’s story is a pretty remarkable one and indicative of the recent lack of depth in Baltimore’s receiver group. He was a fourth-round pick in 2016 and has clung to a roster spot ever since, despite never catching 20 catches in a single season. He’ll be up against Duvernay, a third-round pick with sub 4.40 speed.

Duvernay had a massive eruption in his senior season at Texas that was bolstered by a high number of screens, but he tracks it beautifully down the field and gives Lamar Jackson another speed option outside of Marquise Brown. Baltimore re-signed Moore in March, but Duvernay — and sixth-rounder James Proche — mean the writing is probably on the wall for the veteran wideout.

What Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson thinks of Marquise Brown’s progress, rookie receivers and more - Aaron Kasinitz

Jackson on wide receiver Marquise Brown

“I feel like he is going to have a huge jump, more than people may think,” Jackson said. “He was hurt last year. People didn’t know that. But he went out there and battled his tail off each and every game on a messed-up foot. And now his full potential is going to show this year, I feel. He’s still young, but he is going to show off. And my job is to get the ball out quicker, because he’s a lot faster with that foot at 100 percent.”

Jackson on two rookie wide receivers

“I watched a few highlights when we drafted them,” Jackson said. “I feel like they’re it. Devin is fast, he’s a fast guy. James Proche – his route-running and his hands are different. I just can’t wait to see them when we got the pads on.”

Jackson on the Ravens running backs

“We’ve got great running backs. We’ve got Mark Ingram, we’ve got Gus Edwards, we’ve got Justice Hill, we’ve got J.K. Dobbins. I feel like we’re going to be pretty good with the rushing part. But if I have to, if the play breaks down and no one is open, then I’ll do my thing. But other than that, we’re pretty good.”

Lamar Jackson Is Still Hoping Ravens Sign Antonio Brown - Ryan Mink

“It was nice throwing to Antonio Brown,” Jackson said Wednesday as training camp opened. “I was hoping we would get him. I’m still hoping, a little bit.”

“Around us, he was a great guy,” Jackson said. “You don’t really see anything going on at all. He was a cool, down-to-earth guy. He’s passionate about the sport of football. When he was working, you could tell this man is going to go 24/7.”

Jackson was impressed by Brown lifting before and after the workout.

“I was like, ‘Dang, this guy, there’s no quitting with him.’ That’s the type of guy we need in our locker room,” Jackson said.

“I feel like the locker room here is different from any other locker room. There’s a brotherhood going on, there’s none of that outside noise. It’s strictly inside; we worry about each other, we worry about what we have going on, we want to win. I can tell in him he wants to win. He wants to play ball.”