Ravens rookie running back J.K. Dobbins admits he has never been patient when it comes to playing time. You don’t get to be a 725-carry, 4,000-yard running back at Ohio State without seizing the opportunity and running with it.
But as Dobbins joins a Ravens team that features a 1,000-yard running back in Mark Ingram, a 1,000-yard rusher in MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and two other backs, all of whom created the most prolific running attack in NFL history last year, he knows he will need to earn his workload.
“My role is predicated off of how I practice and how I play,” Dobbins said during a video news conference from the Ravens’ pandemic-altered training camp July 31. “I’m just coming in to work hard and be the best I can. The chips will fall in where they fall in. I’m just happy to be with this group of guys.”
“My thing is I’m just trying to work hard and get on the field some way, somehow,” Dobbins added. “My goal ain’t to be patient. I was not taught that in college. … I’m not saying I’m going to start or anything, but if I feel like if I work hard enough, and show the coaches that I can play at this level, then I’ll be on the field. My goal is to help the team win a Super Bowl not sitting on the bench.”
Dobbins said the veteran Ingram has been like an older brother to him and he has been “grateful” to have Ingram around as he begins his NFL career, with none of the tension that can sometimes exist between an established veteran and a high-profile rookie at the same position.
The Ravens have yet to begin full-squad workouts as veterans are in the process of undergoing their multiple COVID-19 tests, but Dobbins said he has already begun to build rapport with running backs Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill through the virtual spring sessions.
“Those are my guys already,” Dobbins said with a smile.
Dobbins noted that he was involved in offseason workouts in Florida with Jackson and other Ravens, so he and his new teammates already began building some chemistry before they even reported to the Ravens Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills.
The Ravens return the entire backfield from an offense that set an NFL record with 3,296 rushing yards last year, so some draft experts questioned the Ravens’ selection of Dobbins in the second round, at No. 55 overall. But general manager Eric DeCosta said they expected Dobbins to go much higher in the draft, and, considering their run-first offensive system and their best-available-player philosophy, “It just made too much sense for us not to take him.”
Dobbins, the only Ohio State player to ever top 1,000 yards rushing as a freshman, sophomore and junior, said it was “definitely kind of shocking” that 54 players were selected before him after such a prolific career with the Buckeyes, but he called it “added fuel” as he begins his NFL career.
“I don’t need any fuel, but it is added fuel,” Dobbins said.
“But,” he added, “I fell to the right team.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics