Ravens' Full Position Breakdown and Depth-Chart Analysis at Running Back
The 2015 NFL season is now less than three months away.
For the Baltimore Ravens, the ground game will once again be the strength of their offense as they look to grind out another double-digit-win season and a playoff berth.
If they're able to do so, it will likely be on the backs of several talented players in their backfield. The Ravens finished 2014 with the No. 8 rushing offense, and that played a big part in their winning 10 games and making it to the second round of the playoffs.
Here's an early look at the pecking order at running back as organized team activities continue for Baltimore.
4th-5th String: Terrence Magee and Fitzgerald Toussaint
The Ravens will likely keep just four running backs this year, as is the case with most NFL teams.
The fourth and final spot will likely come down to second-year man Fitzgerald Toussaint and undrafted free agent Terrence Magee.
Toussaint will have the early edge after being called up from the practice squad late last year. He finished his rookie year with eight carries for 17 yards after going undrafted out of Michigan.
However, Magee was one of the top undrafted free agents signed after not being selected in the 2015 draft. CBS Sports even had Magee rated as a fifth-round prospect.
Magee rushed for 1,197 yards and 11 scores over his final two seasons at LSU while working in a committee role that didn't allow him to become a featured back.
He has a lot of potential and could easily beet Toussaint for the final RB spot.
3rd String: Javorius 'Buck' Allen
The real newcomer to watch in Baltimore's backfield is Javorius "Buck" Allen.
Drafted in the fourth round out of USC, Allen is a complete back who can give Baltimore an added dimension to its offense. The 6'0", 221-pound back rushed for 1,489 yards and 11 scores this past year.
Allen's best chance to contribute to the Ravens offense as a rookie may be his pass-catching skills. He caught 63 passes for 710 yards and two scores over his past two years at USC.
Not only could Allen win the backup spot, but he could also push Justin Forsett for carries this year; however, he'll open training camp as no higher than third string as he looks to earn his keep.
2nd String: Lorenzo Taliaferro
The Ravens will likely have second-year man Lorenzo Taliaferro as the primary backup behind Forsett when training camp opens.
Taliaferro was drafted in the fourth round out of Coastal Carolina in 2014. He went on to rush for 292 yards and four scores on 68 carries.
As a rookie, Taliaferro battled Bernard Pierce for the backup spot behind Forsett, and at times, he was the main backup. A foot injury, however, led to Taliaferro going on injured reserve after 13 games. He appears to be fully healed from the injury and ready to earn more playing time in his second year.
Because Pierce was cut this offseason, that makes Taliaferro the default backup behind Forsett for now. He'll face a strong challenge, though, from Buck Allen for the backup spot.
1st String: Justin Forsett
There's no debating who the starting running back in Baltimore is—not after Justin Forsett was the MVP of the Ravens offense this past season.
In his first year with Baltimore, Forsett finished fifth in the NFL in rushing with 1,266 yards to go with eight scores.
After becoming a free agent this offseason, Baltimore re-signed Forsett to a three-year deal worth $9 million, including a $2.1 million signing bonus and $3 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac. As if his play didn't say it, Forsett's contract says he will be the No. 1 RB.
Forsett was the key reason why Baltimore improved from 30th in rushing offense in 2013 to No. 8 this past season. He was also a viable pass-catcher with 44 catches for 263 yards and was reliable in pass protection, an underrated aspect RBs must have.
Forsett will once again get the bulk of the carries as he looks to carry the Ravens offense and get the team back into the postseason.