Ravens RB depth chart: Derrick Henry signing gives Baltimore new partner for Keaton Mitchell

The Ravens seemed hopeful in 2023 that Gus Edwards and JK Dobbins could develop into a solid thunder-and-lightning running back tandem, with Edwards serving as a bruiser and Dobbins providing speed.

An injury to Dobbins kept that from materializing, but the Ravens are embracing that concept once again in 2024.

The only difference? Neither Edwards nor Dobbins will be a part of that tandem.

Edwards left the Ravens in free agency to sign with Jim Harbaugh’s Chargers. Meanwhile, Dobbins remains unsigned while recovering from a torn Achilles, and given that he played in just 24 games across three seasons in Baltimore, it’s safe to say that the Ravens were looking to upgrade their durability at the position.

The Ravens did that by agreeing to a two-year deal with former Titans running back Derrick Henry.

MORE: Full details of Derrick Henry’s two-year deal with the Ravens

Henry is one of the most powerful workhorses in the NFL. He led the league in carries in four of the past five seasons and has recorded at least 12 touchdowns in each of the past six campaigns. He figures to top the Ravens’ backfield depth chart, but Baltimore will likely take it easier on him than Tennessee has in recent seasons.

Lamar Jackson may be trusted to run as an explosive threat alongside the powerful Henry, but the Ravens have another back who could emerge as a key complement to The King in his first season in Baltimore.

Here’s a look at the Ravens’ RB depth chart after their offseason of backfield changes.

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Ravens RB depth chart

1. Derrick Henry

The Ravens aren’t paying Henry $20 million over two years to be a complementary back. He is going to be the team’s backfield leader and should track to handle 250 carries, especially if the Ravens win 13-plus games again in 2024.

That said, Henry averaged 361 carries per 17 games played during his past five seasons in Tennessee. The 6-3, 247-pound bruiser was remarkably durable considering that history, but as he enters his 30s, the Ravens need to lighten his load a bit.

Henry will still handle most of the early-down, short-yardage, and goal-line work for the Ravens, but don’t be surprised if he continues to be used sparingly in the receiving game or if he makes way often to give one of the team’s shifty, speedy game-breakers a chance to thrive.

2. Keaton Mitchell

The undrafted East Carolina product was a revelation in 2023, racking up 396 yards and two touchdowns on just 47 carries He also caught nine passes for 93 yards.

Mitchell didn’t handle a sizable workload, but the 5-8, 191-pound back was one of the fastest runners in the NFL during the 2023 season. He logged a top speed of 20.99 mph, good for the fastest speed by a Baltimore ball-carrier on the year, per NFL’s Next Gen Stats. That makes him an ideal complement to Henry, who isn’t the fastest back in the NFL but is difficult to tackle thanks to his huge frame.

The potential switch from Henry to Mitchell on any given drive or play will help Baltimore keep its opponents off balance. They are two totally different types of runners with different body types, so defenses will need to constantly adjust their personnel to match the Ravens’ lineup.

When teams fail to account for Mitchell because they are focused on Henry’s consistency, that’s when the 22-year-old will break some big plays.

All that’s to say Mitchell looks poised to have a great second season. He just needs to stay healthy after being unable to do so in 2023 amid shoulder and knee injuries. He suffered a torn ACL in Week 15, so it remains to be seen whether he will be a full go by Week 1 of the 2024 season.

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3. Justice Hill

If Mitchell isn’t ready to start the 2024 NFL season, Hill will serve as the team’s No. 2 back. The veteran took on the largest role of his career in 2023, totaling 84 carries, 387 yards, and three touchdowns while also catching 28 passes for 206 yards and a score.

Hill is a core special teams player, so his overall versatility should lock him into a spot on the Baltimore roster. He isn’t quite as speedy as Mitchell, but the 26-year-old has enough athleticism to serve as a nice foil to Henry.

4. Owen Wright

Wright went undrafted out of Monmouth in 2023 and spent most of his rookie season on the Ravens’ practice squad. He dressed for one game but didn’t see any action in that contest.

Wright (5-9, 217 pounds) will likely battle for a back-end roster spot with the Ravens. He doesn’t figure to be a part of Baltimore’s running back rotation unless injuries strike again.

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