Previously in my sophomore expectations series, I went over the realistic expectations for first-round linebacker Patrick Queen in his second season with the Ravens. The next player up is running back J.K. Dobbins.
Baltimore selected the Ohio State star with the No. 55 overall pick in the second round. While many panned the decision to draft a running back that high — as the position’s value continually decreases in the modern NFL — Dobbins emerged as one of the offense’s biggest playmakers during the season and is primed for a big Year 2 with the Ravens.
In 15 games last season, Dobbins rushed for 805 yards and nine touchdowns on 134 carries. As a rookie, Dobbins averaged six yards per rushing attempt — best in the entire NFL among running backs and third behind his own quarterback Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals. Dobbins also added 120 yards as a receiver. His longest run for the season was 72 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17.
By the season’s end, Dobbins was clearly the best running back on the roster. After only 25 attempts through the first six weeks of the season, Dobbins exploded onto the scene with double-digit carries in all but one of the final nine games he appeared in for the season. Now, with a year of experience under his belt and a full season’s workload as the top running back, the sky is the limit for former Buckeye.
With an extra game now added to the schedule, reaching 1,000 rushing yards is something the second-year back should have no issue accomplishing if he stays healthy, especially in the league’s most potent rushing attack. A path to becoming one of the league’s best running backs exists for Dobbins, now it is just up to him to take it.