There’s no question about who the Baltimore Ravens’ starting running back is, but there are questions about who will back up Pro-Bowler Willis McGahee. With the addition of Ray Rice in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, the Ravens have quite a log jam for the back-up running back position between veterans Corey Ross, P.J. Daniels, and fellow rookie Allen Patrick. Here’s how they stack up.
Pick and Choose – If you go simply by how high each player was picked, Ray Rice gets the nod. The Ravens scooped up the Rutgers University wunderkid with the 55th overall pick, although many experts had him much higher on their draft. Second year back Ross joined the team as a free agent in 2006, Daniels was a fourth round pick that same year, and Patrick was nearly Mr. Irrelevant, going in the seventh round of this year’s draft.
Notoriety – Rice is the most noticeable of the group, but it doesn’t mean he’s the best option. P.J. Daniels set an NCAA bowl game rushing record with 307 yards and four touchdowns in the Humanitarian Bowl, and ran for more than 3000 yards in his Georgia Tech career. Cory Ross is the ninth all-time leading rusher in Nebraska history, and Allen Patrick had a productive senior season at Oklahoma, his first out of the shadow of Adrian Peterson.
In the End – It’s all about immediate impact. Cory Ross has already made a name for himself as a special team standout, and P.J. Daniels sat most of last year with injury. You never can tell until training camp, but a good bet for the depth chart heading into June is:
Allen Patrick, who also has defensive and special teams experience at Oklahoma, will be a great special teams player on kick coverage. Ross will continue to grow into the kick return role, particularly with the departure of BJ Sams to the Kansas City Chiefs.