by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Baltimore Ravens opted to give many of their veterans the first preseason game off, giving them an opportunity to take a good look at their younger players. Among those who sat out were Justin Forsett, who was limited to just 10 games and 151 carries a year ago. While he’s still the favorite to open the season as the “lead” rusher, it’s no guarantee. Let’s take a look at how the others performed and see if anyone is primed to push him for early down carries:
6 carries, 6 yards, 0 TD
1 reception, 19 yards, 1 TD
The reception saved his performance, especially given the depth that has been created. Of course it doesn’t guarantee him anything, outside of maybe making the roster, depending on how the roles develop.
He proved last season that he could catch the football (45 receptions), and that could ticket him for a third down role. He’s clearly struggled to run the ball, averaging just 3.8 yards/carry in his rookie season. He’s beginning to look more and more like a PPR flier and little else.
9 carries, 25 yards, 2 TD
1 reception, 7 yards
He’s gotten a lot of praise this preseason, so it’s nice to see him actually produce in real game action. Of course he failed to break a big run (longest was just 8 yards), so you have to wonder if his ultimate role will be short yardage/TD vulture? Given all the talk it’s worth continuing to monitor him, but right now the role he appears to be carving out wouldn’t hold much fantasy appeal.
9 carries, 44 yards, 0 TD
The rookie’s numbers were clearly the most impressive of the group, including the longest run of the night (19 yards). It’s impressive, though we have to see a bit more from him before we dub him a serious threat to Forsett. That said, coming out of this game he clearly has the best chance to unseat the incumbent.
Remember prior to the draft NFL.com compared him to Thomas Rawls, the Seahawks breakout runner from a year ago, describing him by saying:
“Highly determined runner with a strong desire to compete through the whistle on every snap. Dixon possesses outstanding feet with exciting suddenness in his change of direction, but he?s very willing to finish his runs with authority and has a knack for finding the endzone. Dixon has all the traits of being a quality, three-down starter in the NFL but his frame and suspect pass protection could be long-term concerns.”
He’s definitely a name to watch.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com