‘Feed The Beast’: Ravens Undrafted Rookie RB to Make NFL Debut vs. Steelers

Ravens Nate McCrary

Getty Baltimore Ravens running back Nate McCrary stiff-arms a defender during a 2021 preseason game.

The Baltimore Ravens have activated running back Nate McCrary from their practice squad for their Week 13 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, per the NFL’s official transaction report for December 4.

McCrary signed with the Ravens in May after going undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Saginaw Valley State, where he rushed for 1,060 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry during his final season.

He showed plenty of promise in the preseason, leading the Ravens with 163 yards on 42 carries, but couldn’t win a roster spot ahead of fan favorite Ty’Son Williams, despite a season-ending injury to J.K. Dobbins.

As a result, McCrary was waived by the Ravens during final roster cuts on August 31 and was quickly claimed by the Denver Broncos. But he never saw the field in Denver and eventually returned to Baltimore on September 25 shortly after being cut by the Broncos.

His elevation to the active roster for Sunday’s game likely means that Williams will be a healthy scratch for the third time this season after playing just two offensive snaps in the Ravens’ last three games. Despite an encouraging preseason, Williams appears to have lost the trust of the Ravens coaching staff; he’s only received 12 carries in five games since he totaled 22 carries in Baltimore’s first two games.

McCrary responded to news of his activation on Twitter:

McCrary certainly has reason to be thankful, as he’ll make his long-awaited NFL debut against the Steelers as the Ravens attempt to hold onto first place in the AFC.



McCrary Looks to Add Juice to Ravens Backfield

The Ravens will be hoping that McCrary brings some extra juice to a Baltimore backfield that has lacked speed outside of quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Latavius Murray scored four touchdowns in his first six games as a Raven, but has only 18 carries for 46 yards in two games since returning from an ankle sprain.

In Murray’s three-game absence, Devonta Freeman emerged as Baltimore’s lead back. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per carry this season, but he’s been more effective between the tackles than running to the outside.

That’s where McCrary could figure into this Ravens offense. He could give the Ravens a faster option at running back who can threaten the outside edges of opposing defenses.

Ravens’ Offensive Coordinator Hints at ‘Vault’ of Plays

After watching San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel receive 19 carries for 181 yards in his last three games, Ravens fans have begun to call for wide receiver Devin Duvernay to be used in a similar fashion.

Duvernay has showed off his running ability in both college and the pros, consistently picking up yards after the catch at the University of Texas and leading the NFL in yards per punt return this season.

Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman hinted that Duvernay may see some varied usage later this season, telling media on December 2, “We’ve got tons of stuff sitting in the vault,” per the Ravens’ Ryan Mink.

Ravens fans shouldn’t be holding their breath expecting Duvernay to suddenly turn into Samuel or Atlanta Falcons’ running back Cordarelle Patterson, but he could still feature in some interesting ways down the stretch.

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