The Competition 2016: Running Backs


"The Competition" is a series that breaks down every position battle leading up to training camp.

Returning Players

Justin Forsett (5-foot-8, 195 pounds, ninth season)

Javorius Allen (6-0, 220, second season)

Lorenzo Taliaferro (6-0, 225, third season)

Terrance West (5-10, 225, third season)

Free-Agent Signing

Trent Richardson (5-9, 230, fourth season)


Kenneth Dixon (5-10, 215)

Projected Starter

Coming off a broken arm that cut his season short last year, Forsett returned to summer workouts as the clear lead dog. He's healthy once again and just two years removed from a Pro Bowl season. Still, Forsett will have to fend off talented younger competition, especially after his average yards per carry dropped from 5.4 yards in 2014 to 4.2 yards last season. He has to prove himself once again, but it's his job to lose. Allen showed last year that he's capable of stepping into the starting role if needed.

Key Role Players

Allen has good hands coming out of the backfield and can be an all-around back. One of the group's most interesting players is the rookie Dixon, who may have the quickest feet in the pack. Dixon finished second all-time in NCAA career touchdowns and was dynamic running and catching the football.

Most Anticipated Battle

The question is whether the Ravens keep three or four running backs. If they keep four, there will be an excellent battle between West, Taliaferro and Richardson. Richardson is a former No. 3-overall draft pick who is getting perhaps one final chance to prove himself with the Ravens. He didn't get off to a good start as he tweaked a hamstring, then underwent minor knee surgery. Taliaferro has been a good, hard runner when healthy, but his first two seasons have both been cut short by foot injuries. West impressed Head Coach John Harbaugh with his fitness and maturation.

We're looking at competitive positions heading into Organized Team Activities, where players will battle for depth chart positioning. It's unclear who will be Baltimore's featured running back or odd man out in a deep group.

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