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Top 5 Running Backs: No. 3, Ray Rice 

Much has been made about the offseason moves of the Baltimore Ravens.

Much has been made about the offseason moves of the Baltimore Ravens. Critics have jumped off the bandwagon, as several key players have been lost to injury, changed teams or retired.  While there will be many question marks about the Ravens on both sides of the ball coming into the 2013-14 season, Baltimore will still return with the Super bowl MVP Joe Flacco and the most versatile running back in our game today. That is none other than No. 27. 

If you don’t know about Ray Rice you better ask somebody.  His short stature may allow him to literally fly under the radar, but the kid has done nothing but numbers since becoming the featured back in ’09.  He is a three-down RB, who can run inside and outside equally as effective. What really separates Rice from others at his position is the threat he presents in the passing game. He is on pace to break the Ravens franchise record for total career yards this season.  Since 2008, no other running backs have caught more passes. 

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Via NBCSPORTS

"Now that guys know that I'm a threat out of the backfield, I got to use my hands a little more," Rice said at Ray Rice Day, a free youth football clinic at Calvert Hall. "I get pushed a lot coming out of the backfield, and that's a sign of respect."


And when he gets open, he has the ability to change games. Like This. Sheesh.


Rice’s best season came during his fourth as a pro, in 2011, when he caught 78 passes for 702 yards and gained 1,682 yards on the ground. He had a lot more offensive weapons around him then. With the departure of Boldin, the injury to Pitta and uncertainty at the No. 2 WR position, Rice may be relied on more heavily in the passing game. Could he be the first RB since Marshall Faulk in ‘99 to gain 1,000 receiving yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season? Faulk’s record tying season (Roger Craig in ’88 is the only other player to do the same) came during his sixth as a pro, the year Rice is entering this season and he is very much in his prime, with the desire to catch more passes. One things for certain, “Little Ray’ will need to play big, if the Ravens hope to win the AFC North for a third straight year.