Ebony Bird round-table: Picking our favorite Baltimore Ravens draft pick

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 30: J.K. Dobbins #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates a 56-27 win over the Michigan Wolverines with fans at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 30: J.K. Dobbins #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates a 56-27 win over the Michigan Wolverines with fans at Michigan Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 09: J.K. Dobbins #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball during a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on November 9, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Maryland 73-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 09: J.K. Dobbins #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball during a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium on November 9, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Maryland 73-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Michael Natelli:

The truth is that roughly 70 percent of the draft was in contention to be my favorite pick because Eric DeCosta knocked it out of the park. Most of football’s elite teams in 2019 currently stand to have lesser rosters next Fall than a season ago, but the Ravens enter 2020 with a significantly better roster than the one that went 14-2 last year (even after losing Marshall Yanda). That’s a scary thought for the rest of the NFL.

Since we can only pick one favorite, I’m going to pick J.K. Dobbins. Call it narcissistic if you want, since I pegged him to Baltimore on multiple occasions. But the truth is that I love this pick because DeCosta didn’t overthink it. He didn’t get all caught up in the positional value of running backs, and he also didn’t over-prioritize loyalty to the standard operating procedure of taking a flier on a running back sometime in the fourth round or later. A phenomenal player fell into the Ravens’ lap, and they went for it.

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What’s more impressive is that Dobbins didn’t totally throw off the rest of the draft. Sure, revisionist history may give the Ravens nightmares if someone like Josh Uche or Denzel Mims blossoms into a superstar. But even if players Baltimore passed on do pan out, the Ravens rely on the running game in such a unique way compared to the rest of the league that they are perhaps the lone team that could truly justify passing on other high-upside talents to take a star running back with the 55th pick. With Mark Ingram set to turn 30 this year, Gus Edwards coming back on a one-year contract, and the Ravens looking to reduce Lamar Jackson’s designed carry total this season, Dobbins provides Baltimore with another option to help shoulder the workload in 2020, while also giving them their obvious feature back for 2021 and beyond. I can’t wait to see him go to work.

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