There certainly wasn’t an abundance of positives to take away from Sunday’s encounter, as the Baltimore Ravens (5-2) were defeated at home by the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0). However, rookie running back, J.K. Dobbins, had another stellar outing.
Rushing for 113 yards on only 15 carries, the former Ohio State Buckeye was averaging 7.5 yards per carry. That’s even more impressive when you consider that this was against the NFL’s 5th ranked rushing defense: .https://www.espn.com/nfl/stats/team/_/view/defense/stat/rushing
The 55th overall pick in this year’s draft by the Ravens is already putting up solid numbers this season, and is currently second on the running back depth chart behind Gus Edwards. While Edwards also had an impressive game on Sunday, with 16 carries for 87 yards, it was Dobbins who regularly made big plays and averaged more yards per carry.
J.K. Dobbins Has Career Day Despite Baltimore Ravens Loss
The New Ray Rice?
27 was once a special number in Baltimore. The number once belonged to Ray Rice, who played an integral role in the Ravens’ Super Bowl run back in 2012, with over 1,100 rushing yards.
In 2020, the first running back to wear the number 27 jersey since Ray Rice, who ranks second on the Ravens’ all time rushing list, Dobbins’ size and speed are reminiscent of the former Scarlet Knight.
While Rice entered the NFL at 5’7″, 199 lbs, Dobbins is slightly bigger at 5’8″, 217 lbs. Two strong backs with a low center of gravity, it’s easy to see the comparisons between the two. Rice was for many years one of the NFL’s most explosive runners, running a 4.46 at the 2008 NFL Combine. Although Dobbins did not attend the 2020 Combine, his speed is obvious to the naked eye, as he appears to be the Ravens’ most explosive running back in over half a decade.
Dobbins is on course to rush for more yards than Rice (454), in his rookie season, although the former Rutgers back only played 13 games that year.
This season, it seems likely that Dobbins will split carries with Gus Edwards until Mark Ingram returns from injury. What is clear though, is that Dobbins has the potential to become Baltimore’s first choice running back of the future.
Mark Ingram has turned out to be an excellent acquisition in the 2019 off-season, as he rushed for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. But he turns 31 in December. Despite how good he has looked in Baltimore, his days as a number one running back may be numbered. J.K. Dobbins seems a worthy replacement for the former Heisman winner from Alabama.
So far this season, Dobbins is averaging a higher yards per carry (6.7) than both Ingram (4.5) and Edwards (4.8). He is also considerably more effective in the receiving game. While Ingram and Edwards have just three receptions between them this season, Dobbins has caught 12 of his 16 targets for 82 yards. It seems that his versatility sets him apart from his fellow running backs.
J.K. Dobbins also has the longest run (44 yards) of any Ravens running back this year, as his explosiveness and big-play potential are evident. The Ravens may decide to increase his workload in the coming weeks, as he seems destined to become the next great Ravens running back.
Expect to see more of him against the Indianapolis Colts next week.