Ravens Running Back Recap: Pre-Draft Edition

Ravens running back group Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill.
Ravens Running Back Group Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill. Photo courtesy of John Eisenberg/BaltimoreRavens.com

In each installment of this series, we will take a look at a Baltimore Ravens position group and review it in preparation for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Coming up next in this series will be the workhorses of the team, the Ravens running back group.

Check out the other Ravens position group recaps: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End and Fullback | Offensive Line | Defensive Line | Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Special Teams

Ravens Running Back Recap: The Players

Mark Ingram 5’9″, 215 pounds, 15 games
2019 stats- 202 attempts, 1018 rushing yards, 5.0 yards per attempt, ten rushing touchdowns, two fumbles.

Gus Edwards 6’1″, 238 pounds, 16 games
2019 stats- 133 attempts, 711 yards, 5.3 yards per attempt, two rushing touchdowns, two fumbles.

Justice Hill 5’10”, 200 pounds, 16 games
2019 stats- 58 attempts, 225 yards, 3.9 yards per attempt, two rushing touchdowns, zero fumbles.

Stat comparison for Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill.
Via Pro Football Reference’s Player Comparison Finder

Group Overview

Ravens running back Mark Ingram carrying football
Photo courtesy of Nick Wass/AP Photo

The unquestioned leader of the Ravens running back group, Mark Ingram got off to a very strong start to the 2019 season. On the first play of the season, Ingram bullied over a defender for a 49-yard carry that set the tone for the rest of the season. Behind the strength of Lamar Jackson and Ingram, the Ravens rushing attack brutalized opponents for an NFL record 3296 yards. Heading into the 2020 NFL season, Ingram will once again lead this group with his downhill style and willingness to grind out the tough yards.

Many teams prefer a one-two punch of power and speed at running back. It would appear that the Ravens prefer power and power, with Gus Edwards coming in for Ingram and bruising defenders between the tackles. Edwards flashed his potential on an explosive 63-yard touchdown run versus the Texans in week 11.

The final piece to the Ravens running back group puzzle, Justice Hill’s speed and shifty running style provide the Ravens with a home run threat whenever he is on the field. Hill flashed his potential often during his rookie campaign. In one play versus the Browns, Hill showcased his vision and speed on an 18-yard touchdown run, exploding through a gap and beating three defenders to the pylon. If the Ravens can tap into Hill’s full potential, they will boast a true three-headed monster at running back.

Draft Expectations

With the entire ensemble returning, it would be fair to say that running back is not a draft need. However, the Ravens have recently re-established themselves as the premier running team thanks to Greg Roman and Lamar Jackson. Therefore, you can never have enough pieces on the board. The question floating around lately is not if the Ravens should take a running back, but rather how early they should select one. Ultimately the answer to that question depends on how the Ravens draft board falls. If the best running back is there at pick number 28, and they also happen to be the top player on their board, history shows the Ravens will ignore a need for the best player available on their draft board.

At the very least you can expect a late-round selection, coupled with an undrafted free agent addition to provide competition in training camp. However, Ravens fans should entertain the addition of D’Andre Swift or Jonathan Taylor. The cost of getting either player is likely the Ravens 2020 first-round pick, but it is safe to say that either guy will kick this group into another gear.

Ravens Running Back Group Grade

Overall Grade: B+
This grade might seem a little off for a group that just broke an NFL record that stood for 41 years. However, that was a true team effort from the entire offense. Undeniably, the Ravens running back group performed very well together. However, there were times throughout the 2019 season that they failed to get going and Jackson had to bail them out. In a playoff game versus the Titans, this group combined for a paltry 42 yards in a devastating loss. It is fair to say that performance was an utter disappointment for a group that combined for 1954 yards in the regular season. That being said, the ceiling for this group in 2020 is very high, and Ravens fans should be excited.

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