By Chris Schisler
J.K. Dobbins is going to have a big season for the Baltimore Ravens. Dobbins was arguably the most exciting rookie last season. He looks much more poised for a second-year jump than a sophomore slump. Let’s take a look at the numbers from last season to help us with our projection.
Dobbins had 134 rushing attempts and averaged an even six yards per carry last season. That was good for 805 yards and nine touchdowns.
The most exciting thing about Dobbins is the potential for the big play. He had a 44-yard scamper against the Houston Texans. He liked facing the Cincinnati Bengals as he had a 34 yard run in one game against them and a 72-yard touchdown in the second battle. Dobbins showed flashes but he really only had two monster games.
Against the Steelers (In a game the Ravens found a way to lose somehow) Dobbins had 113 yards on just 15 rushing attempts. In the regular-season finale, the Ohio State product had 160 yards on just 13 attempts.
How much will Dobbins the football?
As a rookie, Dobbins averaged eight carries a game. This number is a bit misleading because, at the beginning of the season, Dobbins wasn’t getting the top billing at the running back position. Dobbins had 94 rushing attempts in the last nine games of the season. This equated to a little over 10 rushing attempts per game.
Gus Edwards had only 10 more rushing attempts during the 2020 season than Dobbins. It kind of evened out over the course of the season. It was basically as if the Ravens had two running backs carrying the mantle of the number one spot together.
When projecting Dobbins’s numbers, you have to think about the “Gus Bus”. Edwards is one of the Ravens’ best players and he’s going to split the workload with Dobbins. Dobbins should get a bit more touches, but it will be fairly balanced.
Going back to the 2019 season, when Mark Ingram was the top running back in Baltimore, attempts were distributed in a fairly similar method. Ingram never had more than 19 rushing attempts and could expect to run the rock about 15 times.
The Baltimore Ravens may pass the ball more in the 2021 season, though the rushing numbers won’t be diminished in a very noticeable way. Expect Dobbins to get 12-15 rushing attempts per game. Edwards will get eight to 11 attempts on average. Dobbins will get more touches because he is the home run threat in the Ravens backfield not named Lamar Jackson.
Let’s say the second-year phenom averages 13 attempts per game over the course of a 17 game season. That would be 221 rushing attempts. For the sake of being realistic, let’s assume the added workload takes his average down from six yards to 5.5. That would give him around 1,215 yards. You may remember that Ingram had 1,018 rushing yards in 2019. In a 17 game season as the top back, Dobbins should be able to get to 1,200 yards.
Number 27 is expected to be more of a receiver out of the backfield in the 2021 season. We’ve seen little hype videos of him working on his receiving abilities, and we know that’s the one area his game can improve. Dobbins had 18 receptions for 120 yards in his rookie campaign.
That number could easily go up in 2021. I could see 30 receptions but let’s go with 25 to temper our expectations. That’s seven more receptions. He averaged 6.7 yards per reception last season. So at a minimum, we’re looking at 167 yards as a pass-catcher from the second year running back.
Let’s say he breaks two or three of those catches for a huge gain. Give Dobbins 250 yards as a receiver. Fantasy Football fans have to like what we’re talking about and we haven’t even started talking about touchdowns.
Dobbins has a nose for the goal line. He had nine touchdowns last season and when he got the ball inside the five, you almost knew he was going to breakthrough. Dobbins has that low center of gravity and a feel for the game that makes him so dangerous on the goal line. Let’s give Dobbins 14 total touchdowns. He’s going to break away for a few big ones and he’ll do some serious eating in the red zone.
J.K. Dobbins is going to have a big year for the Baltimore Ravens. This is a good guideline of where his gains could come statistically over the course of the new 17 game season.