Bernard Pierce has been the subject of much discussion during the recent offseason months.
The second-year running back came on strong near the end of last year, leading to questions about how he could get even more involved in the offense behind starter Ray Rice.
Pierce has been praised for his hard-nosed running style, which is part of the reason Ravens Running Backs Coach Wilbert Montgomery called him a “Poor man’s Adrian Peterson" leading up to the Super Bowl in February.
Pierce still has a long way to go to get into the same conversation as Peterson, who rushed for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, but there are some similarities to their game.
The first resemblance is in their physical makeup. They are basically the same size – Peterson is 6-foot-1, 218 pounds and Pierce was listed at 6-0, 218. Pierce recently said that he added 10 pounds of muscle this offseason.
The running style of the two is also similar. They are both big backs who do not shy away from contact and are able to break away from tacklers.
In the video above, Peterson patiently waits for an opening and then cuts through the line to get upfield. Pierce is also a one-cut runner who quickly hits open holes and has the power to bounce off tacklers at the line of scrimmage.
Both runners have good speed and long strides, which allows them to pick up chunks of yardage in a hurry.
Pierce's style makes him a perfect fit in the Ravens' stretch-zone running scheme. In this system, Pierce is able to move with the line of scrimmage, and then dart upfield when he sees a hole in the defense.
Another similar trait is that both runners like to bounce the ball outside, and have the speed to outrun defenders as they're getting chased to the sidelines.
In the video below, Peterson shows a great example of his ability to get to the sidelines, and get away from defenders for a long run upfield.
Pierce showcased his potential with some similar runs last season, but Peterson is clearly at the top of the food chain in the discussion of NFL running backs.
The expectations are raised for Pierce going into his second season, as he and Rice could make for a very formidable one-two punch.