Did the Ravens get a fourth-round steal in Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon?
It’s clear some people expect Dixon to be an impact rookie, despite the Ravens’ crowded running back situation.
Pro Football Focus has already called Dixon “the best receiving running back in this class.”
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Many believed that Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott was a great fit for the Ravens in the first round of the draft, but after he went before they even had a chance to consider him, they were able to grab the best receiving running back in this class in the fourth round. Dixon was dynamic out of the backfield for Louisiana Tech in 2015, leading the RB class in receiving grade and forcing 16 missed tackles on 35 receptions, the best mark in the class.
Dixon is also worth watching for fantasy football players.
In his very early top-100 fantasy football rankings, Eric Karabell of ESPN ranks Dixon at No. 90, second among Ravens running backs behind Justin Forsett (No. 59).
Dixon’s pass-catching ability could be the most intriguing aspect of his game. After all, Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman loves throwing to running backs.
In 2014, Matt Forte set an NFL record for running backs by catching 102 passes for the Chicago Bears when Trestman was head coach. It’s conceivable that Dixon could become a reliable target for quarterback Joe Flacco, much the way Ray Rice was during his prime years with the Ravens.
Scoring 87 career touchdowns at Louisiana Tech, Dixon obviously displayed a nose for the end zone. That means Dixon could also find a role as a red zone running back, which may boost his fantasy points.
But the early buzz about Dixon won’t earn him playing time once the Ravens get on the practice field. Forsett enters OTA’s as the starter, but the Ravens will clearly have a competitive running back situation, with Dixon, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West, and Trent Richardson all vying for roles.
However, many later-round running backs are doing well in the NFL.
Of the seven backs who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, two of them went in the fourth round or later- Devonta Freeman (fourth round) and Latavius Murray (sixth round) - and one went undrafted (Chris Ivory).
It would not be shocking if Dixon is a Day 3 draft pick that produces in Year 1.