BALTIMORE – Justice Hill is bashing his way into the Ravens’ running back conversation.
Mark Ingram is the veteran free-agent signing and the clear No. 1. Gus Edwards is a proven commodity who brings value to the position after a strong rookie season. But behind them, there is still a role to be carved out.
Hill staked his claim in the second preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday in a 26-13 win against the Green Bay Packers. He had 10 carries for 49 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Kenneth Dixon, a fourth-round draft pick in 2016, is still clearly in the mix. But Hill, this year’s fourth-round draft pick from Oklahoma State, took advantage of his chances on Thursday.
“He really made some runs, didn’t he?" Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. “He made some tough runs. He had some speed runs, too, where he accelerated. But he had some tough runs.”
The one on the goal line where Hill busted into the end zone from one yard out came just after a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Patrick Ricard. That made it 20-6 Ravens with 13:28 left in the third quarter.
On another run, Hill appeared hemmed in by Packers defenders with nowhere to go, but broke three tackles for a 14-yard run and a first down. It was a good night.
“If you’re going to play running back, you gotta be able to make some people miss,” Hill said.
Dixon was the one who got to run with the second-teamers after Ingram departed following one impressive series with 18 yards on four carries. But he had just 14 yards on six carries.
Hill entered with 8:03 left in the second quarter and played the entire third quarter. That’s where his 14-yard run and the touchdown came. The Ravens had seen enough in the fourth quarter as Hill gave way for players further down the depth chart.
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