As he takes on a bigger role in the Ravens offense, second-year running back J.K. Dobbins isn't bashful about sharing his lofty goals.
Dobbins had a superb rookie season in which he ran for 805 yards and nine touchdowns and led all NFL running backs in yards per carry (6.0).
There aren't many running backs in NFL history who have averaged 6.0 yards per carry in a single season and most on the list are Hall of Famers. Dobbins' 6.0 average was the second-highest for a rookie since the 1970 merger, trailing only Alvin Kamara's 6.1.
Now in a leading role after the departure of Mark Ingram II, Dobbins wants to step beyond the stats and become known superstars like those guys. In order to do that, Dobbins feels he needs to prove himself more as a receiver.
"I want to be one of the greatest," Dobbins said Thursday. "I want to be considered one of those top running backs in the league, so [being a better receiver is] one of the things I've got to do to be like an Alvin Kamara or a Christian McCaffrey. That's what I've been working on."
That's a high benchmark. Kamara has caught more than 80 passes each of his four seasons, though he hasn't topped 1,000 rushing yards. McCaffrey snagged a staggering 142 passes for more than 1,000 yards in 2019.
Dobbins caught 18 passes for 120 yards as a rookie. He wasn't a big-time pass catcher at Ohio State either. But the potential is definitely there. Dobbins has stellar athleticism, good hands (he's working to eliminate concentration drops) and is dynamic and powerful in the open field.
Even if he doesn't reach Kamara or McCaffrey-like receiving stats, Dobbins is expected to do a lot more in the receiving game this season.
During the first practice of Ravens training camp, Dobbins caught several passes and was utilized in a variety of different ways. Dobbins even had one pretty sideline catch deep down the field.
"I've always prided myself on being an offensive weapon – not one-dimensional," Dobbins said. "Shoot, if you want to ask me to go out there and be Lamar for a little bit, I could maybe do that."
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Dobbins' primary strength is as a ball-carrier. He topped 2,000 rushing yards his junior year at Ohio State and he showed in his first NFL season that he can be a stud running back at this level. This year, he wants to break more long runs.
Dobbins showed his long speed with a 72-yard touchdown in the regular-season finale in Cincinnati last year, in which put up 160 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries. He could be in store for more big runs (and days) like that.
"I want to be that home run hitter for the team – that sparkplug," Dobbins said. "Whenever you have a long touchdown run like that, it gets the team going. This year, I've been honing in on ways to make that home run more than just one time. I want to do it like four or five times this year. If you do that, that breaks the will of a defense."