Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins isn’t a fan of Pro Football Focus ranking him the 26th-best running back heading into the 2021 NFL season.
As Dobbins enters his second season with higher expectations, he is using whatever he can to fuel his hunger for success. Even if that means checking where he stands in the PFF rankings.
“I don’t think I’m 26th,” Dobbins said after the first of two days of mandatory minicamp Tuesday. “But I love that. I’ve got people to prove wrong.”
Dobbins finished the 2020 season, recording 495 rushing yards and seven touchdowns during the Ravens’ final six games. He concluded the regular season with a 160-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 3.
Dobbins is expected to have a much bigger role in the offense this year, but he is treating the situation as if he were fighting for a spot on the roster.
“I’m going to come in and work hard like I didn’t get drafted,” he said. “I’m going to act like a guy off the streets working for a spot.”
Dobbins has been trying to improve in every aspect of his game, whether it’s running or catching balls in the backfield.
“Shoot, if we have another cramp game, [I can] get out there and throw the ball. I just want to help my team win a game,” said Dobbins, referencing the Week 14 game against the Cleveland Browns during which quarterback Lamar Jackson went viral for going into the locker room during the fourth quarter with cramps.
Coach John Harbaugh is expecting Dobbins, who was selected in the second round of the 2020 draft, to be a difference-maker in the backfield along with Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. “He is someone we are counting on highly,” Harbaugh said.
Defensive tackle Brandon Williams praised Dobbins’ speed and his ability to shift past defenders. “[He’s] like Muggsy Bogues, you know?” said Williams, comparing Dobbins, who is 5 feet 10, with the Baltimore-born 5-3 former NBA point guard. “Kind of like fast, shifty [and] hard to catch him, but when you get him, hopefully, you can keep him contained.”
Ronnie Stanley on schedule for Week 1
Harbaugh told the media that All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley is expected to play in Week 1.
Stanley, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 in 2020, hasn’t participated in minicamp, but he is expected to be at training camp next month.
“I don’t know if we’ll start him off the very first practice in training camp. I probably won’t do that, even if he’s ready,” Harbaugh said. “But he’ll be out there in training camp as long as there are no setbacks.”
Harbaugh said Stanley has looked good, as he has been running and working out in the weight room.
Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe didn’t participate in practice, as he wasn’t feeling well, according to Harbaugh. “I think he had a pneumonia situation, which is obviously serious,” Harbaugh stated. “I don’t know the level of it, but that was pretty recent. So he will not be practicing this week.”
Wide receiver evaluations will wait
Harbaugh emphasized that he is waiting until training camp to begin evaluating the wide receiver competition.
“It’s the NFL; it’s not just 20 plays on a blackboard that we come out here and run — this is a little more complicated,” Harbaugh said. “There’s quite a bit that they have to learn and know, so start with that.”
Harbaugh has used minicamp to work with receivers on the fundamentals such as route-running, catching the ball and where they should line up on offense.
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“I feel like it’s a talented group, and I’m very excited about what we’re capable of achieving,” Harbaugh said. “Once training camp starts, you’ll probably start to see guys separate.”
- Harbaugh told reporters the team is finalizing the details of a joint practice with another team during training camp. “I don’t want to be premature in terms of announcing anything, but we’re in discussions,” he said.
- Williams isn’t focused on a contract extension as he enters the final year of his deal. “All I’m worried about is year nine,” Williams said. “We will cross that bridge when we get there, but right now we got a bad taste to get out of our mouths.”
- Harbaugh expects a heated competition among the team’s cornerbacks, which features a good mix of young players and veterans. “I’m looking forward to the competition in training camp,” he said. “It’s a very talented group and I can’t wait to watch it play out.”