The Baltimore Ravens may have found another weapon to add to their rushing attack in 2020 undrafted free agent Ty’Son Williams.
Williams has impressed in the Ravens’ first two preseason games, rushing for 88 yards on 20 carries and adding 38 yards on seven catches.
On Saturday against the Panthers, he powered through five would-be tacklers and showed incredible effort and balance during this touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
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While his performance against the Saints on August 14 put him in contention to be the Ravens’ third-string running back, a second strong game in a row could have catapulted him into pole position to win the job.
Ravens’ Running Back Competition
The Ravens have two of the league’s most efficient running backs in J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, who finished second and third in Rushing Yards Over Expected per Attempt in 2020, per Next Gen Stats. They’ll dominate carries for the Ravens this year, but Baltimore’s run-heavy offense means that even the third-string running back is going to get touches.
Justice Hill, a 2019 fourth-round pick, has been the team’s RB3 since he was drafted. While he rushed for 225 yards during his rookie season, the arrival of J.K. Dobbins in 2020 pushed Hill down the depth chart.
The former Oklahoma State Cowboy has developed into a valuable special teams player, playing 46% of the Ravens’ special teams snaps in last season.
But a poor showing against the Panthers–just eight yards on five carries–and solid performances from both Ty’Son Williams and Nate McCrary, has Hill fighting for his roster spot.
While Williams’ is most likely to usurp Hill, McCrary, who signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in May, has recorded 93 rushing yards on 20 carries and 19 receiving yards on two catches so far this preseason. He also rushed for a touchdown against the Panthers, punching in this touchdown in the third quarter.
John Harbaugh spoke about the competition for the third-string running back spot, telling The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, “Every position has to be earned. That’s one that’s got to be earned. They’re all doing a great job, so that’s a very tough decision.”
The Ravens have a history of finding diamonds in the rough, with several undrafted free agents making significant contributions to the team in recent years, including Edwards, who finished fifth among rookie running backs in 2018 with 718 rushing yards after going undrafted.
Williams or McCrary could be the next undrafted running back to shine in Baltimore if they make the team this year.
Dobbins Named as Breakout Candidate (Again)
There is a lot of hype surrounding J.K. Dobbins as he enters his second season, with several observers predicting a strong year from the former Ohio State Buckeye, even being named as a potential running back to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing yards record with the NFL’s expanded season.
He’s been named as a breakout candidate once again, this time by Peter Schrager of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.
Dobbins had an excellent year in 2020, recording 805 yards on 134 carries and nine touchdowns, but with a full offseason under his belt, he could take his game to the next level.
Especially if he can develop as a receiving threat out of the backfield, Dobbins could be a key contributor to the Ravens’ offense in 2021.