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Pundits expecting a big season from fourth-round rookie RB Kenneth Dixon

Pundits expecting a big season from fourth-round rookie RB Kenneth Dixon

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.

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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