After a hot start to the 2022 season, the Baltimore Ravens crashed and burned down the stretch thanks in part to an absurd amount of injuries and a lack of depth at key positions. The Ravens running backs were not immune from the injury bug, and a recent ranking from NFL Network’s Maurice Jones-Drew shows that the team was ill-equipped to handle those injuries.
Jones-Drew ranked every single running back that made a start at some point during the 2022 NFL season. J.K. Dobbins was the highest of the Ravens running backs, coming in at 22nd out of 75. Gus Edwards and Kenyan Drake, meanwhile, finished at 42nd and 43rd, respectively.
READ MORE: 5 Ravens Free Agents to Re-Sign
Former NFL Star Ranks Ravens Running Backs Poorly
J.K. Dobbins: RB22 of 75
Jones-Drew acknowledges that ranking Dobbins was difficult, as the running back played incredibly well when on the field, but struggled to stay healthy.
“Despite playing in just eight games this season, Dobbins climbs all the way up to No. 22 in this list because of his efficiency.”
Dobbins finished the 2022 season with 520 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 92 carries (5.7 YPC) to go along with seven receptions for 42 yards and an additional score. As Jones-Drew notes, this is impressive efficiency, and Dobbins doesn’t owe it all to his system. Playing alongside Lamar Jackson obviously helps any running back, but the second-year pro managed to be efficient even with Tyler Huntley under center.
The advanced numbers tell a similar story. Dobbins finished the season with a 75.7 PFF grade, which would have made him the 25th-best running back in football if he had enough snaps to qualify. PlayerProfiler, meanwhile, notes that Dobbins’ 43.4% juke rate ranks second in the league, and his 10.9% breakaway run rate was third-best among running backs and easily the best on the Ravens.
Frankly, the only reason Dobbins is this low is because Jones-Drew (justifiably) penalized him for not playing a full season. The best ability is availability, and if Dobbins can stay healthy in 2023, then the sky is the limit for the Ohio State product.
TOUCHDOWN, @Jkdobbins22 ❗️❗️❗️❗️
Tune in on NBC! pic.twitter.com/FNH9uggWh4
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 16, 2023
Gus Edwards: RB42 of 75
Much like Dobbins, Edwards suffers in the rankings because injuries limited him to just nine games of action. However, it appears that Jones-Drew doesn’t believe Edwards has the talent to justify a higher ranking in a small sample.
Gus Edwards isn’t the flashiest player in the world, but the former undrafted free agent played some good football when on the field. Overall, Edwards recorded 433 rushing yards and three carries on 87 carries (5.0 YPC). His advanced metrics tell a similar story, as his 82.7 PFF grade would’ve made him a top-10 running back by that metric.
Now, nobody is saying that Gus Edwards is actually a top-10 running back in football, and his relatively pedestrian juke rate and breakaway run rates (24.1% and 5.7%) show that he lacks the same explosiveness as Dobbins. However, with all that being said, Edwards is a remarkably consistent player when on the field, and probably should have been in the 30’s, rather than all the way down at 42.
Kenyan Drake: RB43 of 75
This one is justified. Outside of that one magical week against the New York Giants, Kenyan Drake simply didn’t have it in 2022. The longtime Miami Dolphin used to be a solid player, but it’s clear that age has taken its toll on the former third-round pick.
Overall, Drake averaged 4.4 yards per carry while working in one of the most friendly situations imaginable for a running back. If you take away his crazy outing against New York, that yards per carry number drops all the way down to 3.67. His 53.1 PFF grade made him the 58th-best running back in the league, which was easily the worst mark of all the Ravens running backs. Honestly, ]Jones-Drew might actually be going too easy on Drake in these rankings.
Main Photo: Sam Greene – USA Today Sports