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Three's not a crowd: Ravens want to add game-breaker to backfield

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West proved themselves this past season. He feels those running backs made names for themselves.

But ...

"We need another back," Harbaugh said. "What type of back that is? I think we’re talking about it. We have a pretty good idea of the type of back we want to add."

The type of back the Ravens need is a game-breaking one. Last season, Baltimore running backs produced 20 yards or more on six touches. There were 13 individual running backs who totaled more.

The Ravens lacked a big-play runner like Ezekiel Elliott, LeSean McCoy or Jay Ajayi. They were without an explosive catch-and-run playmaker like David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell.

The Ravens have had their eye on adding a back like this for years. In 2015, Baltimore was hoping Todd Gurley would slide to the bottom of the first round after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his final year at Georgia. In last year's draft, the Ravens would've selected Elliott with the No. 6 overall pick if the Dallas Cowboys had instead drafted cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

So, the Ravens could be tempted to take a back at No. 16 overall if LSU's Leonard Fournette shockingly falls out of the top 10 or Florida State's Dalvin Cook is available.

Some might argue that it would be a waste for Baltimore to take a running back in the first round. The Ravens have set a franchise record the last two years for fewest carries in a season.

Baltimore averaged 22.3 rushing attempts in 11 games with Marty Mornhinweg as the playcaller. Only four teams had fewer (the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams).

"Marty believes in running the football, and I believe in running the football," Harbaugh said. "We have not run the football well enough or enough, really, for the last two years. That has to change."

Harbaugh and Mornhinweg explained that the low rushing numbers were partly the result of being behind too often and finding themselves in an unusually high number of two-minute situations. The other reason was the lack of big plays from Dixon and West.

The Ravens' running backs broke one reception for more than 20 yards, even though they had the second-most catches (84). No group of running backs had fewer receptions over 20 yards.

Baltimore's backs also managed just six runs over 20 yards (1.8 percent) while 308 of them went for five yards or fewer (69 percent).

Harbaugh didn't rule out the third running back could be on the roster.

"It could be Buck Allen, who played really well early in the season, and him taking the next step as far as developing himself," Harbaugh said. "You didn’t see it, but he practiced really well the last half of the season. Those two guys and another one is what we need.”