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Position draft analysis: Running backs

Each day leading up to the NFL draft, The Sun will analyze a position on the Ravens and rank its priority:

Running backs

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Where the Ravens stand now: The Ravens are set with Ray Rice, who had a breakout season in 2009. He became one of the NFL's top playmakers, breaking long gains as a ball carrier and receiver. Willis McGahee was a red-zone monster, scoring a total of 14 touchdowns. Le'Ron McClain went back to being a fullback in 2009, but he wants to carry the ball more this year. Jalen Parmele made a contribution as a kickoff returner, averaging 31.4 yards after he replaced an injured Lardarius Webb.

Players who could be on Ravens' radar: Toby Gerhart, Stanford (second or third round); Joe McKnight, USC (second round); Dexter McCluster, Mississippi (third round).

Priority: Low. With only five picks, the Ravens aren't expected to use one on a position where they have depth. It would be tempting to draft a young backup because that would allow the team to trade McGahee and dump his $3.5 million salary.

One running back who has drawn interest from the Ravens is Gerhart, who played under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. He made a pre-draft visit to Owings Mills. The Ravens could be intruiged by McKnight or McCluster because they can make an impact as a returner. Webb might miss this season, so the Ravens wouldn't mind upgrading over Parmele. But it might make more sense to go add an undrafted running back like SMU's Shawnbrey McNeal or South Carolina State's Will Ford.

Other top-rated running backs: C.J. Spiller, Clemson; Ryan Mathews, Fresno State; Jahvid Best, California; Montario Hardesty, Tennessee; Jonathan Dwyer, Georgia Tech; Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State.

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