Ravens: J.K. Dobbins predicted to lead the AFC in rushing yards

Ravens, J.K. Dobbins Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, J.K. Dobbins Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens are months away from starting the 2021 NFL season. However, bold predictions are already being set for players around the league.

On Wednesday, CBS Sports analyst Jason La Canfora assembled a list that he dubs “NFL 2021 fearless forecasts.” Among the 19 predictions, Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins is featured on the list and predicted to lead the AFC in rushing yards.

Of the many great running backs in the AFC — Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb, and Jonathan Taylor just to name a few — why would La Canfora believe the second-year player would have the best opportunity to have the most rushing yards?

Let’s take a look.

J.K. Dobbins was great for the Ravens in 2020

Baltimore started the 2020 season with a committee at running back. Fellow backs Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram, and Justice Hill shared snaps with Dobbins during the majority of the regular season.

Dobbins would push himself in front of the pack following a Week 10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. It was after that defeat that Dobbins earned the primary back role in the Ravens’ heavy rushing offense.

Dobbins, unfortunately, missed the Week 11 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers due to COVID-19. But when he returned to the offense in Week 13, his motor could never be turned off.

In the final five games of the regular season, Dobbins would not have a rushing performance under 53 yards. He would also find the end zone at least once in each of the remaining five games.

Breaking franchise records

In Week 17 against the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals, Dobbins had his best rushing performance to date.

Dobbins erupted to close the regular season. He ran the ball 13 times for 160 rushing yards and found the end zone twice.

Dobbins’ 72-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest by a rookie running back in franchise history.

That’s not the only Ravens record Dobbins broke by the end of the regular season.

Dobbins ended the season with nine touchdowns. This moved him ahead of wide receivers Marquise Brown (seven) and Torrey Smith (seven) for the most touchdowns as a rookie in franchise history.

While bold predictions are what they sound like — bold — what we have seen from Dobbins in his rookie season showed that he will be successful in Baltimore’s run-heavy attack.

Even if he does not end 2021 with the most rushing yards in the AFC, Dobbins will no doubt be a playmaker when he touches the ball.

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J.K. Dobbins could very well go on to become the best running back in Ravens history if everything goes according to plan.