Is there an increased sense of urgency for the Baltimore Ravens to add another running back?
According to a SportsNation poll, half of the voters say the running back position is just a "moderate" priority for the team. Nearly a third believe it's a "low" priority.
Baltimore has question marks at running back after Ray Rice was arrested for simple assault and Bernard Pierce underwent offseason shoulder surgery. The Ravens are also coming off their worst rushing season in franchise history. But the response suggests there are other positions that require more immediate attention.
Here are some selected comments from readers ...
Josh (Baltimore): About the Rice situation, I feel as if it is being completely over-dramatized. Rice and Pierce had dreadful seasons; that can't be a coincidence. I believe giving Joe Flacco more reliable weapons and providing him with a more consistent offensive line are the two priorities for our team this offseason.
Matt (Wilmington, Del.): Much like defensive back or pass rusher, running back is a position in which a team can never have too many legitimate options. I would say that RB is a "moderate" concern simply because there are other more pressing needs in the first couple of rounds and/or free agency (WR and OL). After those positions, however, they have to be seriously taking a RB if a good prospect is available. Ideally, Rice and Pierce would be the top rushers for the next two to three years. For a title contender like the Ravens, however, they have to be prepared if those guys begin a repeat of last year.
Jon (Lisbon, Md.): If it was just one RB that didn't produce, it would be fair to wonder if it was time to find someone else. But Pierce went from 4.9 yards per carry in 2012 to 2.9 last year, and Rice had a career 4.52 yards per carry average over five years and dropped to 3.1 last season. When you have two running backs that fall off precipitately at the same time, you've got to look at the scheme and the offensive line. I believe scheme will improve under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Fix the O-line and both Flacco and Rice/Pierce will rebound from a forgettable 2013 season.
Don (Bermuda): Ray Rice was never fast, but he was shifty and intuiative with his cuts and hitting the proper gaps. He appears to have lost several steps and lost his acceleration. Rice dances behind the line too much. I think the Ravens will draft a running back in the third or fourth round.