Ravens likely to take a running back with one of their 9 picks in NFL draft

OWINGS MILLS — Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta thinks most running backs will be selected in the third through seventh rounds of this year’s NFL draft. 

The market for free-agent running backs this offseason indicated that teams were not overly excited about the overall talent in this year’s draft, according to DeCosta.

The Ravens added four-time Pro Bowler Derrick Henry in free agency, which could change the complexion of the offense because of his dominant running style. The Ravens also have Justice Hill and Keaton Mitchell, who is recovering from knee surgery, on the depth chart.

DeCosta indicated there is a strong chance the Ravens will select a running back with one of their nine picks in the draft, which starts on April 25th. While there are no top-tier, first-round running backs this year, DeCosta is confident the team will be able to find value later in the draft. 

“There is probably a pretty strong chance that we will draft a running back at some point; [the] round is obviously to be determined, but we do think there is a chance for us to get a good, young player who can help us in different ways; as a running back, in the passing game and also on special teams,” DeCosta said.  

Several running backs could be intriguing to the Ravens in this year’s draft, including:

Player: Jaylen Wright

School: Tennessee

2023 stats: 12 games, 1,013 yards; 137 carries,  7.5 yards per carry, four touchdowns.

Player: Braelon Allen

School: Wisconsin

2023 stats: 11 games, 984 yards, 181 carries, 5.4 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns

Florida State Seminoles running back Trey Benson (3) makes his way down the field. The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Louisville Cardinals 16-6 to claim the ACC Championship title in Charlotte, North Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

Player: Trey Benson

School: Florida State

2023 stats: 13 games, 905 yards,  156 carries, 5.8 yards per carry, 14 touchdowns

Player: Jonathon Brooks

School: Texas

2023 stats: 11 games, 1,139 yards, 187 carries, 6.1 yards per carry, 10 touchdowns

Player: Audric Estime

School: Notre Dame

2023 stats: 12 games, 1,341 yards, 210 carries, 6.4 yards per carry,18 touchdowns

The Ravens will likely also look to add a veteran running back for training camp. The team could consider bringing back Dalvin Cook, who signed with the team for the playoff run. Cook has run for more than 1,100 yards each of the past four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, who selected him in the second round (41st overall) of the 2017 NFL draft from Florida State. He was a four-time Pro Bowler from 2019 through 2022.

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