The 5-foot-9, 223-pound Baltimore native boosted his draft stock with a respectable 4.54 time in the 40-yard dash. He had 13 formal meetings with NFL teams at the combine.

"He ran pretty well," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "Heavy production, great vision and balance. I thought he'd [run slower], so I do think he helped himself."

This draft class is regarded as deep at the running back position, including Tre Mason (Auburn), Bishop Sankey (Washington), Jeremy Hill (LSU), Charles Sims (West Virginia), James White (Wisconsin), Antonio Andrews (Western Kentucky), Jerick McKinnon (Georgia Southern) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (Coastal Carolina).

"The Ravens could definitely use a running back with how things went last season and what's going on with Ray Rice," said former NFL scout Bucky Brooks, an NFL Network draft analyst. "They've got to get Joe Flacco some help and get that running game going."

Last year, no running backs went in the first round.

Five were drafted in the second round: Giovani Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals), Le'Veon Bell (Pittsburgh Steelers), Montee Ball (Denver Broncos), Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers) and Christine Michael (Seattle Seahawks).

The Ravens probably won't have to rush to find a running back if they add a rookie.

"Their impact on their two teams was significant," Mayock said of Bernard and Lacy. "I just think that it's a pass-first league now. So, you're seeing a lot of different draft picks getting pushed up ahead.

"I think this running back group is talented, is deep and you kind of have to filter through it to see who you like because there are a lot of different flavors out there depending on what kind of offense you run."

awilson@baltsun.com

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