The Baltimore Ravens picked running back J.K. Dobbins in the NFL Draft, and in the moment, it seemed as if the player would be an ideal fit with the team.
Looking below the surface after the draft, that only seems to be more the case. Recently, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks put together a list of the top player fits from the 2020 draft, and when it came to Dobbins and the Ravens, the pairing was on the list. No. 3 on the list, to be more specific.
“Despite fielding the NFL’s top-ranked rushing attack with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards thriving behind dual-threat QB Lamar Jackson, the Ravens upgraded their RB1 spot with the addition of Dobbins. The 5-foot-9, 209-pounder is a dynamic runner with outstanding vision, balance and body control. He rushed for 2,000-plus yards during his final season at Ohio State while exhibiting the strength, stamina and endurance to carry the load as a workhorse runner. With Ravens’ runners averaging 5.09 yards per carry in Jackson’s 22 career starts, Dobbins could play at a Pro Bowl level as a rookie in a read-option offense that routinely gashes defenses lacking discipline at the point of attack.”
It’s safe to say that Dobbins could only make the Baltimore rushing attack more feared in the end next season, which would be huge and it’s a reason the fit is so good.
J.K. Dobbins Stats
While playing for the Buckeyes, Dobbins was a big game player as well as a game breaker. He was a first team All Big Ten player as well as a first team All-American in 2019. Statistically speaking, he was one of the most successful running backs the Buckeyes have ever had. In a 3 year career, Dobbins put up 4,459 rushing yards as well as 645 receiving yards. Dobbins also scored 38 touchdowns on the ground to go with 5 in the air. Truthfully, he was a very dangerous player given his breakaway speed in the open field and ability to catch the ball as well as run in between the tackles.
At the NFL Combine, Dobbins sat out drills, choosing to stand on the work he did in college. It could be considered a smart move given how well he showed for the Buckeyes most of the time in big games.
Mel Kiper Grades Ravens Draft
After watching what his hometown Ravens were able to do all weekend long, Kiper came away insanely impressed. In fact, he handed the team an ‘A’ grade for their work of the weekend in a new ESPN Insider piece, nearly the highest total Kiper could give a team’s class.
Why was Kiper so high on the class? For starters, it patched holes and included some players other teams were overlooking that ended up being potential steals for the team.
Here’s a look at what Kiper wrote about why the grade was so high in Baltimore:
“Look at this Ravens roster. Where are the holes? Definitely middle linebacker. Maybe wide receiver. Probably a guard to replace Marshal Yanda. But that’s it. So I liked that the Ravens got an off-ball linebacker at No. 28 whom Lamar Jackson called “Ray Lewis Jr.,” and I liked that they didn’t have to move up to get him. Patrick Queen started only 16 games in his LSU career, but his talent bursts on the tape. He’s a fit as a long-term C.J. Mosley replacement. (By the way: Baltimore has now drafted three linebackers in the first round: Lewis in 1996, Mosley in 2014 and Queen. Those first two were/are pretty good.)
So as you can see, all five of them were at least 20 spots higher on my final Big Board. That’s outstanding value. Baltimore fortified the middle of its defense — it gave up 4.4 yards per carry last season, most in franchise history — got a playmaker to help Jackson in the slot, and picked a tackle with guard experience who could compete to take over for Yanda, along with fourth-round pick Ben Bredeson (143). I’m also a big fan of James Proche (201), a super-productive pass-catcher who could fill a role, and safety Geno Stone (219) could be a special-teams menace as a rookie. Getting him in the seventh round is stellar.
General manager Eric DeCosta had another really strong draft. Expect Baltimore to be a Super Bowl contender again.”
It’s more than possible that is the case given how deep the team already is and how good the class is. Baltimore attacked needs from start to finish, and got great value. For that reason, Kiper is a big fan.
Dobbins could end up being one of the best fits of this class when all is said and done.