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What do the Ravens have in mind for Delone Carter?

Baltimore RavensFootballIndianapolis ColtsDelone CarterBernard PierceDamien Berry

The Ravens acquired third-year running back Delone Carter from the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, in the process eliminating David Reed from the logjam at wide receiver behind the starters on their depth chart.

Reed, obviously, was on the outside looking in at the competition for the final two or three receiver spots, so the Ravens flipped him for the former Syracuse back. So what should the Ravens expect from Carter this season?

Well, that's assuming he makes the team, which might not be guaranteed even though the Ravens just dealt for him. If they are just kicking tires, they will have to do it quickly, as roster cuts are looming in just over a week.

Despite being on the shorter side at 5-feet-9, Carter tips the scales at 232 pounds, which makes him the heaviest running back on the roster. Carter is considered to be a straight-ahead, between-the-tackles runner. Those attributes led to the Colts giving him opportunities to be their goal-line back.

He rushed for 377 yards and two touchdowns on 101 carries in 2011, but a combination of injuries, fumbles, a regime change and the emergence of Vick Ballard in 2012 caused Carter's carries to dip to 32, though he did have three touchdowns.

Carter’s 3.8 career yard-per-carry average shouldn’t get you excited, but he does pack some power into his pint-sized frame. According to Pro Football Focus, 355 of his 499 career yards came after contact, an average of 2.7 yards after contact per carry, which, for comparison sake, is a little better than Ray Rice’s average over the past two seasons.

If Carter makes the team, he likely won't push Rice and Bernard Pierce for carries. Those guys are both competent backs near the goal line, too, so I’m not sure we’ll see him there, either.

But he might be a better offensive option than the other backs the Ravens have. Anthony Allen is a fine special teams player, but he is limited as a runner. It feels like Damien Berry has been around forever, but he has never really stood out. And while I think Bobby Rainey can possibly play in the NFL, he is hurt here by the fact that his size and skills are similar to Rice.

Carter wasn’t anything special in two seasons in Indy, but he does bring a little something different to Baltimore's backfield. I’m curious to see what the Ravens have in mind for him.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Baltimore RavensFootballIndianapolis ColtsDelone CarterBernard PierceDamien Berry
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