2015 Baltimore Ravens Depth Chart Projections: Running Back


Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) carries the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell (23) defends in the second quarter during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Ozzie Newsome did a good job of making fans sweat this offseason prior to the draft. Free agency toiled on while Newsome let last year’s Pro Bowl running back, Justin Forsett, toil himself as the two sides hammered out the terms of a new contract.  Meanwhile, other teams were reportedly interested in signing the 2014 breakout star.

Resigning Forsett was one of the most underrated moves in NFL free agency, and it was a move that didn’t cost much.  It also eliminated what would have been a major need for the Ravens, and took some pressure off the team to draft a running back in one of the early rounds. We knew, of course, that Ozzie was going to draft a back at some point.  That was easily one of the draft’s worst kept secrets.

So while the Ravens waved goodbye to perennial disappointment Bernard Pierce, they used a fourth round draft pick on Javorius “Buck” Allen and resigned exclusive rights free agent Fitzgerald Toussaint. Last year’s fourth round selection, Lorenzo Taliaferro, returns.  At fullback, they bring back Kyle Juszczyk, who is backed up by likely camp body Kiero Small.

The Ravens’ final 53 man roster in 2014 saw them carry only four backs into the regular season with Ray Rice suspended.  This year, at least initially, looks to be no different.  Forsett, Allen, Taliaferro, and Juszczyk are roster locks.  Toussaint, who spent a good bit of last season on the practice squad, has an uphill battle to make the active roster once again.

I like this year’s running back corps over last year’s for a few simple reasons.  For one, we have a lead dog that the Ravens can count on.  Last year we had no idea how things would shake out, and it took several weeks for the cream to rise to the top.  I also believe that youthful upside trumps mediocre experience, in which case Allen is an obvious upgrade on Pierce.

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Taliaferro is still a question mark as a small school prospect who struggled to gain extra yards in 2014. He and Allen are sure to battle for snaps behind Forsett, but both will likely see action at various points throughout the season as the Ravens wait for one to emerge over the other.  It’s a nice setup for the Ravens as they have a season or two to find their running back of the future.

So the biggest question on the Ravens’ running back depth chart is who will seize the number two spot? Taliaferro will get the nod at first, but Allen will be given every chance to unseat him.  Taliaferro is a bit of a plodder with less burst than Allen.

Allen has adequate pass blocking skills and is a good fit for Marc Trestman’s offense as a decisive one-cut runner who is also a proven receiver out of the backfield.  So I’ll give him the nod, but this might be more of a 2A/2B situation regardless.

Having said that, here is my 2015 Baltimore Ravens depth chart projection.

Running back

1. Justin Forsett

2. Javorius Allen

3. Lorenzo Taliaferro


1. Kyle Juszczyk

Next: Tight End Depth Chart Projection

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