Justin Forsett returns to a deep backfield for the Ravens in 2016.
Justin Forsett returns to a deep backfield for the Ravens in 2016. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Leading up to the draft, The Baltimore Sun will look at the Ravens' personnel at each position, explore whether they could add to that position and analyze who they might target.

Today we'll examine running backs...


Current running backs under contract: Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Trent Richardson, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West, Terrence Magee, Kyle Juszczyk (fullback)

Chances that the Ravens will draft a running back in first three rounds: Low. But there are two possible exceptions: Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott and Alabama's Derrick Henry. Running back isn't one of the Ravens' needs. It's one of the team's deepest positions, despite a lack of star power. However, general manager Ozzie Newsome has established a reputation as one of the shrewdest drafters by adhering to the best-player-available philosophy. When the Ravens are on the clock at pick No. 6, Elliott might qualify as the best player if all of the draft's elite defensive players are gone. Henry might be the same in the second round. Otherwise, running back could be a position the Ravens ignore altogether.

Possibly on Ravens' radar: Devontae Booker (Utah), Kenyan Drake (Alabama), Elliott (Ohio State), Henry (Alabama)

Outlook: The Ravens have drafted a running back in four of the past five drafts, and the team's commitment to rediscovering its running game this offseason could prompt them to add to their stable of ball carriers. But at this point, another running back would be more of a luxury than a necessity. Forsett is nearing 100 percent after he broke his arm last November. Allen had a promising rookie season, while West showed some positive signs late last year and has worked himself into the best shape of his young career. The Ravens believe Taliaferro could be a good short-yardage back if he can stay healthy. And anything they get from Richardson — the No. 3 pick from four years ago — is a bonus.

However, questions linger. Would the Ravens be able to pass up Elliott, who has drawn comparisons to the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson? And knowing Newsome's fondness for Alabama players, how tempting will it be if Henry, the Heisman winner, is still on the board when the Ravens are up in the second round? The bet here is that the Ravens resist the temptation and stick to filling their biggest needs. But it would be foolish to dismiss the possibilities.


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