Each weekday through April 24, the day before the first round of the NFL draft, The Sun will look at where the Ravens stand at each position, the likelihood that they will address that spot early in the draft and some of the prospects that they may consider.
Today we’ll examine running backs:
Current running backs under contract: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey, Damien Berry, Lonyae Miller, Vonta Leach (fullback)
Chances that the Ravens draft a RB in first three rounds: Highly unlikely. Ozzie Newsome and company are always looking to add playmakers to the offense, but the Ravens are pretty deep at running back. Rice is one of the league’s best and most versatile backs. Bernard Pierce exceeded all expectations in his rookie season and by year’s end, he looked like a future star. There was plenty of speculation that Leach, the three-time Pro Bowl fullback, could be a salary cap casualty but the Ravens have filled many of their offseason holes without going down that road.
Possibly on Ravens’ radar: Kenjon Barner (Oregon), Tommy Bohanon (Wake Forest), Jawan Jamison (Rutgers), Stefphon Jefferson (Nevada), Stepfan Taylor (Stanford)
Outlook: With 12 draft picks, the Ravens have the option of taking a flyer on a late-round running back, but it certainly won’t be a priority. Pierce, whom they traded up to select in the third round last year, solidified the position following the surprising retirement of Ricky Williams last offseason. Allen is a key member of the Ravens’ special teams units so his roster spot appears secure. That doesn’t leave much room for anybody else, and Rainey is a guy whom the Ravens want to take a longer look at after he had a standout preseason last year. With the Ravens continuing to transition into a passing team, it’s hard to see them investing an early to mid-round pick on a running back. However, the organization has long believed in drafting the best player available regardless of position, so if a back that they like falls into the later rounds, don’t be shocked if the Ravens pull the trigger.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun