The Baltimore Ravens ran the football better than any club in NFL history in 2019, breaking the single-season record for the most rushing yards by a team with 3,296 yards on the ground. This offseason, the Ravens decided to double-down on that strength by bringing in Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins with the No. 55 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. So far, that selection has looked good with Baltimore praising Dobbins' efforts over the summer, and with the regular season fast approaching it looks like the young back will see plenty of action out of the gate.
On Tuesday, head coach John Harbaugh noted that while veteran Mark Ingram will remain Baltimore's starting running back, Dobbins will potentially be looking at "a significant role" in the Ravens backfield. Along with Ingram and Dobbins, the Ravens have Gus Edwards and Justice Hill in their stable, but it appears Dobbins will have the opportunity to leapfrog both of them for touches.
"Confidence plus coachability plus talent, that's a pretty good combination and he's got all of that," Harbaugh said of Dobbins, via Jamieson Hensley of ESPN.
Of course, quarterback Lamar Jackson, who broke Michael Vick's single-season rushing record for a quarterback last season, will get his fair share of carries in 2020 as well, but Dobbins will be a key piece to what Baltimore will be looking to accomplish offensively in 2020 and beyond.
The 5-foot-9, 209 pounder also has a solid history at Ohio State of rushing out of the shotgun, which is how Baltimore likes to deploy their backs. For example, Ingram's shotgun carry rate of 94.5% ranked No. 1 in the NFL in 2019 and he averaged 5.3 yards per carry rushing out of that formation. For the Buckeyes last season, 1,755 of Dobbins' 2,003 rushing yards came out of the shotgun -- second-most in college football.
Given that system fit, it's no surprise Dobbins is impressing early and already carving out a sizable role within the Baltimore offense. He may not be able to make the full leap over Ingram to become the Ravens starting running back during his rookie season, but there's promise with the 21-year-old and he's already starting to show it.