What Can Kenneth Dixon Bring to the Table?
Kenneth Dixon, so far, is the prime example of an up-and-down career. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, he showed a lot of value in his rookie season. Backing up Terrance West, he shined in his limited opportunities. On 88 attempts, he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and scored 2 touchdowns in 12 games. His biggest game was against the Steelers on the famous Christmas Day game, where he was the most dominant offensive player on the field. With Terrance West struggling that day, Dixon picked up the slack on a lot of impressive runs where he was breaking tackles and carrying Steelers defenders.
After that year, however, Dixon’s career took a turn for the worst. He was suspended for four games due to the leagues substance abuse policy. To make it worse, he then tore his meniscus and missed the entire year. After a promising start, will Dixon be able to contribute in the backfield or will he be a lost cause?
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I think all Ravens fans know that Alex Collins will be the starter in week 1. After a breakout year last year, Collins looks poised for another good year with the Ravens offensive line getting back healthy. However, we have seen a running back breakout and then come back down to earth the next year (see: Justin Forsett). I don’t expect that to happen to Collins, but if it does Kenneth Dixon should be prepared to step in.
There are a lot of similarities between Collins and Dixon. Both are well-built backs that find their success in breaking tackles and gaining yards after contact. They are fine receiving backs that are good checkdown options for Flacco, successful at creating yards out of nothing. Neither have breakaway speed that can break a run for 80 yards, but they have a lot of useful tools that helps the offense run smoothly.
Dixon has a chance to be the Ravens best running back this year. However, I understand many fans hesitation on that statement. The best ability is availability and getting suspended and hurt does not help that cause. But there is a reason the team didn’t decide to draft any running backs this past year. They believe that the core of Collins, Dixon, and Buck Allen can get this team where it needs to be.
The Ravens have a perfect mix of running backs on the roster and it doesn’t matter who the lead back is for any of the games. It could change up depending on the pace of the game or the opponent. But I think their