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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Ravens Get Rushing Help from Veteran RB Kenyon Drake

The Baltimore Ravens running back situation gained some clarity when they signed veteran back Kenyon Drake on Wednesday.

Drake was released by the Las Vegas Raiders one year into the two-year, $11 million deal he signed with them before last season. He posted 545 total yards (254 rushing/291 receiving) and two touchdowns in 12 games last year. Drake missed the last five games with a broken right ankle.

Drake was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the third round, 73rd overall, in the 2016 NFL Draft. Over six seasons with the Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Raiders, Drake rushed for 3,384 yards and scored 29 touchdowns. He added 199 receptions for 1,535 yards and seven touchdowns.

Drake instantly becomes the best available back in a group that is waiting for players they relied upon in the past to return.

The Ravens placed running back Gus Edwards on the reserve/physically unable to perform list Tuesday. Edwards will be out for at least the first four games of the regular season. He is one of two players in NFL history to produce at least 700 yards rushing and average five-plus yards per carry in the first three seasons of a career.

“Gus is still on schedule and I fully expect him to play quite a bit of football this year,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on Monday.

Starting running back J. K. Dobbins tore his ACL a year ago. Dobbins was activated off the PUP list on August 8, 2022, but he has only been able to participate in individual drills since then.

“J.K. [Dobbins], if J.K. can go out right now, that would be great. I would be excited. He had a good practice today. If not, we have the guys that will play. So, we’re good either way,” Harbaugh said.

Drake will share carries mostly with veteran Mike Davis who has started at running back in the first two preseason games. Davis averaged 3.1 yards per carry in the preseason. Meanwhile backups Justice Hill and rookie Tyler Badie combined for 81 yards on 31 rushing attempts (2.6-yard average).

The Ravens have been one of the NFL’s most run-heavy teams since Lamar Jackson joined them in 2018.

Over the past three seasons, Baltimore has also run the ball 1,668 times, which is 151 more than any other team in the league. No team has done better than the Ravens’ 180.5 rushing yards average per game since 2019.

Baltimore didn’t run the ball particularly well during the preseason. They only gained 226 yards on the ground and averaged a meager 3.2 yards per attempt. Additionally, the Ravens only rushed for two touchdowns.

Harbaugh isn’t worried about the low output though.

“No, that’s not a concern at all. You work on things that you want to work on, you’re watching things that you want to see. We practice our run game every single day, and we’ll expect to go out there and execute it very well,” Harbaugh said.

The Ravens open the season on the road at the New York Jets on Sunday, September 11.

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