Ravens add quality Derrick Henry backup in Rasheen Ali: Instant grade and analysis

The Ravens are taking a chance on a powerful runner
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens made good on their promise to draft a backup running back who could help spell Derrick Henry. With the No. 165 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Eric DeCosta and the Ravens chose to select Marshall running back Rasheen Ali and add him to the backfield mix.

The Ravens have been open in the past about how they wanted to add another running back in the draft. Given Henry's age and the departures they suffered in this offseason, DeCosta's line of thinking makes a ton of sense.

The Ravens are continuing to place a premium on raw athletic talent in this draft. Their Day 3 plans got started with two of the biggest steals in the entire draft in North Carolina wide receiver Devontez Walker at No. 113 overall and Iowa State cornerback T.J. Tampa at No. 130 overall.

While many of the best available running backs when the fifth round began were quickly snatched up before Baltimore got their hands on them, the Ravens were still able to add a smooth runner with electric tape to the team. Flip on any of Ali's games and watch the fireworks.

Ravens NFL Draft grade for Rasheen Ali: B

Ali's 2021 and 2023 seasons saw him amass an astounding 38 rushing touchdowns on the ground while combining for over 3,000 yards from scrimmage. Ali is best at home in the open field, using his great speed and ability to absorb contact to become one of the most consistent runners in the country.

While Ali will need to improve his vision as a running back and figure out how to avoid contact at the line of scrimmage rather than seeking it out, the Ravens were rightfully seduced by his great speed, and Baltimore will waste no time adding him to a very deep running back room.

After losing Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins to the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency, the Ravens are moving forward with a three-headed monster of veteran Justice Hill, promising undrafted free agent Keaton Mitchell, and Ali as the backup plan for whenever Henry needs a breather.

While Ali isn't going to be a contributor in his first season with the Ravens, there's a good chance he eventually supplants Hill and Mitchell as the top backups behind Henry. The best athlete at the position left on the board, Baltimore made out fairly well if they had their mind made up on drafting a running back.