Should the Ravens trade up from No. 16 to get an impact running back in the draft? Not according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.
The Ravens’ need for more playmakers is obvious, and coach John Harbaugh says the offense could use another back to complement Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West.
In his first mock draft, Kiper had Leonard Fournette of LSU (No. 8, Panthers) and Dalvin Cook of Florida St. (No. 12, Browns) as the first two backs off the board, with the Ravens taking Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers with the 16th pick.
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Kiper says the Ravens can get a quality back in the first three rounds, with this year’s draft deep at the position.
“I don’t know that trading up for a running back the grade of Fournette will be high enough to say he’s in that (Ezekiel) Elliott stratosphere,” Kiper said during a recent conference call.
“You have a lot of depth at running back too, with (Christian) McCaffrey, D’Onta Foreman from Texas, and there’s a lot of other backs in this draft that I really like, and of course the Ravens got Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round last year which was a heck of a pick for them. Matthew Dayes from N. C. State, you have Jamaal Williams at BYU, De’Angelo Henderson at Coastal Carolina is an interesting kid. I don’t think there will be a team looking to trade up for the running back this year.”
West led the Ravens with 774 yards rushing in 2016, with Dixon adding 302 yards. However, every other team in the AFC North had a back with more yards than West. Le’Veon Bell (1,268 yards) led the Steelers, Isaiah Crowell (952 yards) led the Browns, and Jeremy Hill (839 yards) led the Bengals.
While the Ravens have other pressing needs like cornerback, wide receiver, and pass rusher, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take a running back early.
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