Javorius Allen: 2015 Ravens Rookie Predictions


Dec 27, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Javorius Allen (37) is pursued by Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Austin Williams (24) on a 44-yard touchdown run in the third quarter in the 2014 Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For months, it appeared that the Baltimore Ravens were going to spend a high draft choice on one of the top two running backs in the 2015 NFL Draft.  Roughly 90% of mocks around the interwebs projected the team selecting Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley with the 26th pick.  Turns out, neither lasted past the first 15 picks.

So the Ravens took a receiver.  Then a tight end, followed by a defensive lineman and a linebacker. Finally, in the fourth round, they grabbed a running back – Javorius Allen.  Allen joins a backfield already occupied by a newly signed Justin Forsett, last year’s fourth round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro, and practice squad regular Fitzgerald Toussaint.

Forsett is the favorite to lead this stable of backs in carries in 2015, but he’s also 29.  Regardless, he is coming off a Pro Bowl season where he rushed for 1,266 yards and 8 touchdowns.  I would fully expect him to stick to around 15-20 carries a game, with the rest of the pack competing for scraps.

Helping Allen’s cause is the general ineffectiveness of Taliaferro last season in spot duty.  It’s not that he was terrible by any means, but 4.3 yards per carry is rather ho hum with Forsett averaging a stout 5.4 ypc behind the same line (on a lot more carries).

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Also helping Allen’s cause is his proficiency as a pass catcher.  “Buck” caught 41 passes last season alone for 458 yards and a score, adding 1,489 yards and 11 scores on the ground.  He’s simply more pro ready than Taliaferro was last year and is a better all around back.

So a lot will hinge on what kind of progress Taliaferro makes this offseason, and if Justin Forsett can stay healthy and productive.  I believe that Allen will overtake both Toussaint and Taliaferro in camp and the preseason, earning 8-10 carries a game to start the season.

That’s a bit on the optimistic side, but Allen proved in a pro style offense that he could shoulder the load last season.  If he does earn this kind of role, expect something like  5-600 yards rushing, 1-200 yards receiving, and around 4-5 total touchdowns.  And perhaps an even brighter future as a potential lead back.

Next: Ravens Running Back Depth Chart Projection

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