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NFL Countdown #6 and I Miss JK Dobbins Already

NFL Countdown #6: JK Dobbins led all runningbacks with 6.0 yards per carry in his rookie campaign. The only players who racked up more yards per carry in 2020 were his teammate Lamar Jackson (6.3), and Kyler Murray (6.2).

There’s only one thing worse than injuries in fantasy football, and that’s the people who celebrate injuries because it gave them some sort of edge. Wait – scratch that – the only thing worse than a regular injury is a completely avoidable injury in a pointless football game. During the Ravens’ final preseason game this year, JK Dobbins suffered a torn ACL, ending the 2021 season for the star second-year runningback before it started. Although Dobbins only had 9 carries throughout his three preseason games, he shouldn’t have taken a single snap. His head coach, John Harbaugh, is the sort of “football guy” that thinks you can avoid injury by being tough enough, and never has an issue with playing his best players in the preseason. The run-heaviest team lost their best runningback by trotting him out there in a game that doesn't matter, but on the bright side, the Ravens’ win over the Washington Football Team gave Coach Harbaugh the NFL record for most consecutive preseason games won! Don’t worry about the fact that his players suffered two torn ACLs, a concussion, and a shoulder stinger this preseason – John Harbaugh can put a plaque on his wall to celebrate six years of endangering his players to win games that nobody watches!

There are a million reasons why teams shouldn’t be playing their starters in the preseason, but I don’t want to play the “I told you so” game with football coaches. Pretty much all of the “smart” coaches have been sitting their studs for the past few preseasons, and anyone who thinks JK Dobbins needed a few carries to get going before the season doesn’t listen to differing opinions. Today I just want to mourn the loss of JK Dobbins’ sophomore season and remind everyone just how good he is with a football in his hands.

J’Kaylin Dobbins ran for 255 yards and 3.2 touchdowns per game in his junior year of high school before breaking his leg at the start of his senior season. Despite his injury, the 4-star prospect still received over twenty scholarship offers and ended up choosing Ohio State University. Dobbins ran for 7.2 yards per carry in his first year, and finished the season with the most rushing yards ever by a freshman. He stumbled a bit while sharing the backfield with Mike Weber in his sophomore season, but came back to life as one of the best runningbacks in all of college football in his junior season. He somehow tied with Jonathan Taylor for the most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in the Big Ten, and closed out his college career with a 221-yard performance against Trevor Lawrence and company in the Fiesta Bowl.

JK Dobbins college stats & rankings

After laying down a ridiculous 2250 scrimmage yards in his junior season at Ohio State, JK Dobbins declared for the NFL draft and was selected 55th overall by the Baltimore Ravens. Coming off Lamar Jackson’s 2019 MVP season, the Ravens looked to Dobbins to bolster their already super-efficient running game. Coach Harbaugh eased Dobbins into the offense slowly over the first six games, then made his rookie runningback the frontman of their backfield by committee after their Week 7 bye. With Lamar Jackson running with the ball over 10 times per game and a rotation that featured two other runners with 9 and 6 carries per game, Dobbins averaged just over 12 rushing attempts per game in the Ravens final 10 games. He capitalized on his opportunity share by leading all NFL runningbacks in yards per carry, with 6.0. Dobbins was absolutely electric in the Ravens option-heavy offense, bursting through the line of scrimmage and picking up a few yards before defenses even realized he was the ballcarrier (check out the video below for a simple breakdown of Ravens option runs). He was everything the Ravens needed to execute their offensive style of death by a thousand papercuts, and he was easily the best on his team at breaking off longer runs. The sport of football is worse off without Lamar Jackson and JK Dobbins running the option, but luckily medicine has come very far since the days when an ACL tear could end a career. Dobbins will spend the 2021 season on Injured Reserve, and then we’ll get to see him and Lamar wear out defenses to the tune of 6+ yards per rush again in 2022.

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