Ravens Former 25-Year-Old RB Looks ‘Outstanding’ Coming off Injury

The running back market rebounded during the 2024 free agency with some significant contracts handed out to veterans. Former Baltimore Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins is one of the running backs still unsigned and the league received some news that may change teams’ minds going forward.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero posted about the RB on Tuesday, March 26, “Free-agent RB J.K. Dobbins has been cleared for football activities, Dr. Neal ElAttrache wrote in a letter to select teams today, noting Dobbins looks “outstanding” coming off a torn Achilles.”

Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins fends off a tackle in Week 1 against the Texans.

Dobbins suffered a torn Achilles in Week 1 of the 2023 season against the Houston Texans. The RB started off strong with 22 rushing yards, 1 touchdown and 2 catches before suffering the injury.

Dobbins, who averages 5.8 ypc in his career, is expected to take visits soon.

Bleacher Report’s Scott Polacek described Dobbins’ career as, “Injuries have long been a concern for the Ohio State product, who missed the entire 2021 season because of a knee injury and was limited to just eight games in 2022.”

Dobbins released a video of himself, on February 29, working out with the caption, “5 1/2 months out.”

Pelissero wrote, “Dobbins, who averages 5.8 ypc in his career, is expected to take visits soon.” Dobbins will be looking to rebuild his value after dealing with injuries the last three seasons and could take on a backup role to prove he still is an explosive RB.

J.K. Dobbins Looking to Restart His Career
Dobbins was drafted by the Ravens in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft with high hopes for the Ohio State product.

“The 2020 second-round draft pick has proven to be explosive when healthy with 13 total touchdowns in 24 games and a 5.8 yards per carry average,” Polacek wrote.

Dobbins started his career off strong as a rookie, rushing for 805 yards and 9 touchdowns. As a rookie he only trailed QB Lamar Jackson in rushing yards for the 2020 Ravens.

He took the lead role in a group of Gus Edwards and Mark Ingram and looked to be the running back of the future for Baltimore.

Unfortunately, as Polacek describes, “Health issues have largely derailed his career since.” In the last three seasons Dobbins has only played in nine games.

The question will now turn to who is willing to take a chance on the injury-prone running back. Polacek wrote, “While it remains to be fully seen how much interest he will generate as a free agent given his previous injuries, Dobbins is still just 25 years old and could be a low-risk addition.”

Any Chance of Reunion Between Ravens and J.K. Dobbins
A reunion between Baltimore and Dobbins looks unlikely at this point though. The Ravens added RB Derrick Henry as their prized addition in free agency and he will be the lead back heading into 2024.

Polacek wrote, “Henry is one of the best running backs of his generation and is expected to be the workhorse for his new team after leading the league in rushing attempts in four of the last five seasons.”

The Ravens invested heavily in Henry, so handing out another contract to a running back would be ill-advised.

The Ravens also still have high hopes for second-year RB Keaton Mitchell as he recovers from his own significant injury. Mitchell showed explosiveness and promise in the second half of the season prior to tearing his ACL late in the season.

Veteran Justice Hill is also still on the roster and has been a reliable backup in his time with Baltimore.

Polacek ended by writing, “Whichever team signs Dobbins could be getting a low-risk, high-reward playmaker who has apparently recovered nicely from his most recent setback.”

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