Baltimore Ravens: Looking ahead to the 2020 NFL Draft
Running backs galore:
The Ravens currently have a solid core of running backs consisting of Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. With that being said, Ingram will turn 30-years old at the end of this year and Edwards will be an Exclusive Rights Free Agent. The hope is that these three can serve as the team’s unit for the next two-to-three seasons, but none of them are transcendent type of players that can change the make-up of this offense.
The 2020 NFL Draft class has lots of running backs to pick from, including several with round one potential. The conversation has to start with Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Taylor has been undoubtedly college football’s most productive running back since his freshman year in 2017. In just two seasons, Taylor has accumulated over 4,000 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns. The biggest knock on him when it comes time for him to leave the Badgers will be his mileage, but that hasn’t kept Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry from finding NFL success.
Clemson may be known as Wide Receiver University, but their top offensive prospect might be running back Travis Etienne. Even with Trevor “Sunshine” Lawrence commanding the Tigers offense, Etienne found his way into the end-zone 26 times in 2018, with 24 of those coming via the run-game. Etienne and Taylor will likely be duke it out for rights to being the 2020 NFL Draft’s top running back all year long.
Arizona State has another stud offensive star in running back Eno Benjamin. Benjamin, a former commit to the University of Iowa before changing to ASU, had the quietest 2018 season in the country, despite rushing for a school record 1,642-yards with 16 touchdowns. Benjamin was also named to the 2018 First-Team All-PAC-12. What separates Benjamin from some of the prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft class is his prowess as a receiver.
Boston College’s A.J. Dillon looks like the second-coming of Brandon Jacobs. While not quite as tall, Dillon comes in at 245-lbs. with the feet of a gazelle. Dillon has rumbled his way to over 2,600 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns through two-years with the Eagles. Many are talking about Dillon potentially translating to fullback at the next level, but we’ve seen plenty of times in the past that Baltimore loves their heavy-set runners (i.e. Jamal Lewis, La’Ron McClain).
Other names to watch: J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State), D’Andre Swift (Georgia), Najee’ Harris (Alabama), Cam Akers (Florida State)