Running back Alex Collins proved to be the biggest surprise of the Baltimore Ravens this season, going from the practice squad in Week 1 to the NFL's 11th-leading rusher.
But Ravens coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal when asked whether Collins earned the right to be the starter for next season or if Baltimore will look to upgrade.
"I'm looking to upgrade everything. You know that's how I'm going to answer the question," Harbaugh said. "Alex Collins has proven the fact that he can be a very good back in this league."
Collins isn't seen as a workhorse back by Baltimore. The Ravens never gave him the ball more than 20 times in a game (compared to Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette, who combined to do so 12 times) because they didn't want to wear down a smaller frame back like Collins. There are also other issues with ball security (four fumbles) and catching the ball (three drops).
The Ravens could just be keeping their options open at running back, especially in the draft. Baltimore hasn't selected a running back in the first three rounds since Bernard Pierce in 2012, and the team could be kicking itself after passing on Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt last year.
Collins averaged 4.59 YPC, which was No. 4 in the league among running backs with at least 200 carries. If the Ravens don't make a big move at running back, Collins will likely hold draft value in the fourth or fifth round.
The 5’9”, 192-pound Smith, a Florida State product entering his seventh NFL season, appeared in five games with the Chicago Bears last season. An undrafted free agent who spent his first five credited NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Smith has averaged 9.9 yards on his 30 NFL carries and totaled 7 touchdowns on 45 touches.
The story said it's too soon to panic, but Forte probably won't play next week if he misses a few more practices and then it's time to worry, the story went on to say. The article also added Robinson could get his first full-time work after limited work last week. Robinson could end up being a guy to get carries if Forte remains out. Powell's strength is more of a third-down back and he likely wouldn't see a large amount of rushes.
The clock is ticking on Pierce, who signed on the first day of camp and promptly pulled a hammy. There's a limit to the team's patience. "As camp goes, there’s a problem if you stay in the training room when you just got here and you haven’t shown yourself," coach Todd Bowles said. "He has (games) on tape. As the running backs get healthy, those who make plays, obviously get to play." Consider that a warning, Bernard.
Forte already has been ruled out for Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the preseason opener. There are only four healthy backs, only one of whom (Bilal Powell) is a lock to make the roster.