J.K. Dobbins being out for the season is prompting the Baltimore Ravens to cast a wide net in search of veteran help at running back. The search is taking in a familiar face, along with a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Ronald Jones II is one of three backs visiting with the Ravens, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Zrebiec also named former undrafted free agent James Robinson and ex-Raven Kenyan Drake among those “in for workouts.”
Jones is the headline name thanks to his experience winning two Super Bowls. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs’ running back is also versatile enough to be a factor on the ground and in the passing game.
He hasn’t played in a while thanks to a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy. A groin injury also sidelined Jones during training camp this offseason, with the 26-year-old finally released by the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, September 18.
Ravens Can Offer Decorated Veteran Another Chance
Despite having a pair of Lombardi Trophies on his CV, Jones has endured a sporadic career since being selected 38th overall by the Bucs back in the 2018 NFL draft. He’s never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season, coming close in 2020 when he amassed 978 yards on the ground.
That was the season the Buccaneers went on to win the Super Bowl, but Jones was overlooked in favor of Leonard Fournette during the playoff run. A move to the Chiefs followed in 2022, but Jones soon demanded his release when he couldn’t earn significant playing time.
Jones stayed put, but the Chiefs still played veteran pass-catcher Jerick McKinnon and rookie seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco ahead of him. The Cowboys offered a chance for redemption this offseason, but Jones’ suspension ultimately scuppered those plans.
Another chance to revive his career would surely follow if Jones impresses the Ravens. He’s a proven commodity who can break the long run, the way he did for this 98-yard touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in 2020.
Jones’ receiving skills would also likely appeal to Ravens’ offensive coordinator Todd Monken. The latter is calling a more expansive passing attack this season, so a back as versatile as Jones would give quarterback Lamar Jackson one more target.
There’s a lot to recommend Jones, but the Ravens are keeping their options open in the search for cover for Dobbins.
Ravens Exploring All Options
Dobbins tearing his Achilles in Week 1 against the Houston Texans condemned the Ravens to losing their most dynamic runner for the second season out of three. It also prompted the team to activate veteran Melvin Gordon III from the practice squad.
Edwards, Hill and Gordon should give the Ravens all they need on the ground. That’s the theory, but it’s telling how many lengths the franchise is going to in order to recruit further help.
Drake appeared in 12 games for the Ravens in 2022, rushing for 482 yards and four touchdowns on 109 attempts. He also clocked up 21 first downs on the ground and averaged an impressive 4.4 yards per attempt, per Pro Football Reference.
Robinson can’t match those kinds of numbers, but he’s a solid pro who can stay on the field for all three downs. What the 5-foot-9, 219-pounder has had trouble doing is finding a home in recent months, failing to stick with either the New England Patriots nor the New York Giants this offseason.
The Jones, Drake and Robinson trio doesn’t represent the extent of the Ravens’ efforts to replace Dobbins this season. They have also been credited with interest in Los Angeles Rams’ workhorse Cam Akers, who is potentially available for trade.
A trade is an option, but the most cost-effective ploy would be to add a bargain free agent. Preferably a plug-and-play veteran ready to contribute immediately.
All three of Jones, Robinson and Drake fit the bill, but the latter likely has the inside track thanks to his familiarity with the team.