The Ravens and third-round draft pick Bernard Pierce agreed to terms Thursday morning, a league source confirmed, leaving second-round draft pick Courtney Upshaw and sixth-round draft pick Tommy Streeter as the team’s only unsigned 2012 draft picks. The running back will receive a four-year contract.
Pierce, who left Temple after his junior season, was named the 2011 ECAC Offensive Player of the Year after racking up 1,481 rushing yards and a school-record 27 touchdowns. He rushed for 149 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Maryland, and had 100 or more rushing yards in eight of Temple’s 11 games.
The 6-foot, 220-pound back joins a young backfield that includes Ray Rice, Anthony Allen and Damien Berry. The Ravens say they are content with that quartet after losing veteran Ricky Williams to retirement early in the offseason. And Rice said Monday that he is looking forward to taking on that leadership role.
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“Just add him to the mix,” Rice said about Pierce and his fellow backs. “One thing about the running back position, we know one guy can’t take the whole load. Him coming in, hopefully he’ll contribute right away.”
Pierce might have to, at least in offseason workouts and maybe even into the preseason, if Rice holds out. But the Ravens still have two months to get a deal done with Rice before the start of training camp.