Ravens add Dobbins to enhance running game
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens sought to enhance an already strong ground game by selecting Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins with the 55th overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday night.
Dobbins ran for a school-record 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns with the Buckeyes last season. He left after his junior season following a career in which he amassed 4,459 yards rushing with 38 TDs.
Dobbins averaged 6.2 yards per carry over three seasons, including 7.2 yards as a freshman and 6.7 last year for the Big Ten champions. He ran for 172 yards in the conference title game.
The 5-foot-10, 217-pound Dobbins joins the most prolific running attack in NFL history. With fleet-footed quarterback Lamar Jackson leading the way, Baltimore ran for a record-breaking 3,296 yards while compiling a league-best 14-2 record.
Dobbins will likely begin his pro career behind nine-year veteran Mark Ingram, a physical back who rushed for 1,019 yards and 10 scores in 2019. But Ingram turned 30 in December, and Dobbins provides Baltimore with a speedy option.
“He’s a great player,” Dobbins said of Ingram. “I can learn a lot from him.”
The Ravens were slated to pick again in the second round at No. 60, but general manager Eric DeCosta dealt the selection to New England along with No. 129 for Nos. 71 and 98. That gave Baltimore four picks in the third round — 71, 92, 98 and 106.
DeCosta used his initial third-round pick to take Texas A&M defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, a 6-3, 304-pounder who is considered quick for his size.
Madubuike started 12 games as a sophomore and had 5 1/2 sacks in 12 games as a junior. He joins a retooled defensive line that includes Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, both obtained during the free agency period before the draft.
DeCosta focused on defense during the first night of the draft, selecting LSU linebacker Patrick Queen with the 28th overall pick.
Queen was the first LSU player ever drafted by the Ravens. After playing in only three games as a freshman, Queen developed into a star with the Tigers and hopes to continue to progress as Baltimore’s middle linebacker.
“I’m going to be strong, I’m going to be fast, and I’m going to be smart and just try to bring that mentality I had in college into the NFL and turn it up a lot more,” Queen said. “I feel like I haven’t even reached my full potential yet, so the sky is the limit.”
Queen joins a unit that last year allowed only 17.6 points per game, the third-lowest average in the league despite using three different starters at middle linebacker.
The Ravens’ defense long ago earned the reputation of being tenacious and ornery, and Queen sees himself helping carry on the tradition.
“I feel like I’m going to bring everything to the table that their defense is known for: the passion, the aggression, total dominance as a defensive linebacker,” the 20-year-old said.