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The Competition 2018: Running Backs

Returning Players

Alex Collins (third season)
Javorius Allen (fourth season)
Kenneth Dixon (third season)
Patrick Ricard (second season)

Free-Agent Signings

None

Rookies

Gus Edwards (undrafted)
Mark Thompson (undrafted)
De’Lance Turner (undrafted)
Christopher Ezeala (undrafted)

Projected Starter

Collins came out of nowhere last year to rush for 973 yards and six touchdowns despite just 12 starts. Now he enters the seasonas the Ravens’ clear No. 1 running back. With speed, shiftiness and the ability to break tackles, Collins is super talented. The question is whether he can carry the load for an entire season. Collins also wants to prove he can be more of a game-changer as a receiver and blocker.

Key Role Players

There are very few “bell cow” running backs anymore, and the Ravens frequently use their No. 2, and sometimes even No. 3, running backs. Allen had 153 carries for 591 yards and four touchdowns last season, along with 46 catches for 250 yards and another two scores. He’s a bigger-bodied and reliable weapon. Dixon flashed in his rookie year, but missed last season because of a knee injury. He still intrigues the Ravens with his combination of power and quickness. Ricard was a key piece of the offense last year at fullback, but has been playing more defensive line so far this summer.

Most Anticipated Battle

The No. 2 spot is up for grabs between Allen and Dixon. Allen was one of the Ravens’ most improved players last year and coaches trusted him with the ball. But Dixon is also an alluring talent if he can stay healthy and eligible. Both are looking to prove they should be the first option to step in for Collins when he needs a break or in certain situations.

Ricard will look to prove that the Ravens need him as their H-back/fullback instead of plugging in tight ends Nick Boyle or Maxx Williams. Either that or Ricard has to make the team more on his defensive lineman merit. The undrafted rookie running backs have flashed this offseason while the German-born Ezeala has an automatic spot on the practice squad.

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