Ravens rookie J.K. Dobbins not concerned about crowded backfield

Todd Karpovich

From Pop Warner to Ohio State, coaches have always wanted to get the ball into his hands of J.K. Dobbins. 

There has never been a time over his football career that he was not the focal point of an offense.

Dobbins faces a different dynamic with the Baltimore Ravens, who have all three running backs still on the roster from last year's record-setting performance. 

He's prepared to embrace any role that helps the team win. 

“When you go to a new program … Just like in college when I went into Ohio State, there’s always the older guys and guys that are there that are talented," Dobbin said. "I’m just working; I’m going to learn from the older guys. Mark Ingram II – he won a Heisman trophy and has been in the league for 10 years. 

"My main objective is to come in and learn, compete, and however the chips fall, that’s how they fall. That’s the coaches’ decision on who plays what and how much playing time someone gets. My job is to just come in and do anything I can to help this team win a Super Bowl.”

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta was thrilled when Dobbins fell to them in the second round of this year's draft even though Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill were still on the roster. That unit helped Baltimore break the NFL's single-season rushing record with 3,296 yards last season.\

Quarterback Lamar Jackson played a key role with that explosive attack, and he carried the ball 176 times for 1,206 yards rushing — sixth-best in the league and the most by a quarterback in NFL single-season history.

Ingram was second on the team with 1,018 yards on 202 carries, followed by Edwards (711 yards on 133 carries) and Hill (225 yards on 58 carries). 

DeCosta is confident Dobbins has the talent to move up that depth chart in the first year as a pro.

"I think with our offense we want to add as many talented guys as we can at skill positions,” DeCosta said. “You guys have watched us over the last couple years and specifically last year, and we’re a team that likes to run the football. So, having running backs is really, really important. This was a guy that was, in my opinion, one of the very best in college football this year."

Dobbins set a Buckeyes record with 2,003 rushing yards during his final season in 2019, breaking the previous mark of 1,927 held by Eddie George in 1995. Dobbins finished his career with 4,459 rushing yards, 796 receiving yards, and 43 touchdowns.

The Ravens are confident Dobbins will have a seamless transition to the pro game. Dobbins has already developed a strong rapport with the other running backs. 

“I’ve had a lot of interaction with them. Those are my guys, already," Dobbin said. "Mark [Ingram[ is my guy, as well. We talk quite a bit. I talk quite a bit to all of them. We have a good relationship. I’m honestly glad that I have four other running backs with me to help me as a rookie. But I have a good relationship with all of them.”