J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards Are Both First-Teamers for Ravens

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Left: RB J.K. Dobbins; Right: RB Gus Edwards

Fantasy football owners looking to size up the Ravens' backfield should know this: J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are going to share the load and it might be a pretty even split.

The Ravens' first depth chart of the 2021 season has both Dobbins and Edwards listed as starters. On Tuesday, Running Backs Coach Craig Ver Steeg talked about how he sizes up the rotation.

"Right now, I see it as a 1AA," Ver Steeg said. "We have different types of knives; we're going to use them.

"If a guy can catch or run a route, if a guy can protect, if a guy can run downhill or outside zone, all those different things, let's use that and not only be balanced the way 'G-Ro' [Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman] is talking about on offense, but let's be balanced in our room."

Last year, Lamar Jackson led the Ravens in rushing attempts with 159 (28.6%). Edwards was second with 144 rushes (25.9%) and Dobbins third with 134 (24.1%).

Once Mark Ingram II was given a smaller role (inactive for half of the final 10 games), Dobbins took the majority of the hand-offs. He had 109 over the final 10 weeks, despite missing one game on the COVID-19 list, while Edwards had 96 carries.

How the pie is sliced this season remains to be seen, and it could vary game to game and perhaps situationally.

Edwards is the big-bodied bruiser who stands in at 6-foot-1, 238 pounds. He's been known as a highly effective downhill runner who rarely loses yardage and almost always falls forward for a couple more yards.

Edwards has been incredibly steady with 718, 711 and 723 rushing yards in each of his three seasons, respectively. He scored a career-high six rushing touchdowns last year.

Dobbins is a shorter back at 5-foot-10, 212 pounds, but he also runs with power and hits the edges of the defenses with a lot of speed. As a rookie, he led all NFL running backs with 6.0 yards per carry last season and posted 805 yards and nine touchdowns.

While they are built much differently, Dobbins and Edwards actually aren't that far apart in playing style. They both feast on yards after contact. Edwards showed a lot of improvement last year with his feet, change-of-direction and burst to the outside. Both running backs are looking to prove themselves more as receivers (combined 27 catches).

"Gus has been working like J.K. on the receiving stuff," Ver Steeg said. "I don't know if you saw a couple of screens he's caught [and] things like that in camp, but he's going to bring that whole checkdown level of his play up a notch."

Both running backs have big goals. Dobbins said he wants to be "one of the greatest" and in the same tier as top backs Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. Edwards said he wants to run for 1,000 yards this season.

Another player who should not be lost in the shuffle is Justice Hill, who is entering his third season. Ver Steeg said his pass protection will help him see the field more.

Fantasy football owners looking for the leaders in the Ravens' run-heavy scheme are not going to find the bell-cow they covet. But whoever they take, they'll probably be happy with the results.

"I know nothing about fantasy football, but I hear about it all the time," Edwards said with a smile. "I guess I'm doing good with it, I don't know."

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