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Terrance West Sits Atop Ravens Running Backs Depth Chart For Now

Posted Mar 31, 2017

Head Coach John Harbaugh said last year’s leading rusher is the ‘No. 1 guy on the depth chart,’ but added that both he and Kenneth Dixon, once he’s back from suspension, can be ‘workhorses.’ And don’t forget about Danny Woodhead as a pass catcher.

Listen up, fantasy football owners.

Head Coach John Harbaugh was peppered with questions about the projected roles of his trio of running backs during Tuesday’s breakfast with reporters.

Who will be the lead dog between Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon and newly-signed free agent Danny Woodhead?

“Terrance is the No. 1 guy on the depth chart, but you’ve got to have more than one back,” Harbaugh said. “Terrance has done a great job. I’m really excited. I know he’s working hard, and I’m excited to see how he does.”

West led the Ravens last year in rushing attempts (193), yards (774) and touchdowns (five). He had the longest single run (41 yards) of the season.

West also led the team’s running backs in receiving with 34 catches for 236 yards and one touchdown. He was just three receptions and 30 yards behind Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

The 26-year-old Baltimore native and Towson standout didn’t miss a single game and started 13.

Last year, Justin Forsett was the Ravens’ starter for the first three weeks until West took over. In 2017, West is in position to start out of the gates. That’s also partly because Dixon will begin the season serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.

“Going into Year 2, I look for Kenneth Dixon to be suspended, to start with. And then I look for him in Week 5 to get back and roll,” Harbaugh said.

“I think he’s going to be a really good player. [He’s] conscientious, wants to be good, made a mistake – really not a mistake he’s very proud of. I think he’s going to put it behind him and be a really good back in this league.”

A reporter asked Harbaugh if he thought Dixon could turn into a “workhorse” running back in Baltimore.

“Sure, absolutely,” Harbaugh said. “I would say the same thing for Terrance West. Both guys could be workhorses.”

So what’s the role for Woodhead, who the Ravens signed to a reported three-year, $8.8 million contract?

He’s never seen a high workload of carries, topping 100 attempts just once during his eight years in the league. Where Woodhead could have a bigger impact is as a receiver and red-zone threat. He caught 80 passes for 755 yards and six touchdowns in his last full season (2015) with the San Diego Chargers.

The Ravens like to throw to their running backs, and while West and Dixon can be effective in that area, Woodhead brings a different dynamic. He could take away some targets from the other backs, and absorb some of the looks that went Juszczyk’s way last season.

“Danny is probably one of the best in the league as a running back and receiver,” Harbaugh said. “I think he’ll be a weapon for us.”

The Ravens have been clear about their desire to run the ball more effectively, which could include more carries overall, after ranking 28th in the NFL last season with 91.4 rushing yards per game.

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