Baltimore Ravens: Is Alex Collins the Running Back of the Future?

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 10: Alex Collins /

The Baltimore Ravens offense has been off and on this year, but one player has been consistently excellent, and that’s running back Alex Collins.

The Baltimore Ravens offense has been fairly off and on so far this year. Up until the past couple weeks, their passing game was the worst in the NFL (now it’s only the third-worst).

But if there’s one player on the offense that’s been consistent, it’s been running back Alex Collins. Since taking over the starting job from Terrance West, Collins has been excellent, and he’s been especially good over the past four weeks, scoring five touchdowns since Week 11.

Collins has shown off just how talented he is, he honestly reminds me a bit of Marshawn Lynch with how physical of a runner he is (which makes sense given he had the nickname “Beast Mode Jr.” when he was with the Seattle Seahawks).

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But Collins has shown he’s not just a ground-and-pound between-the-tackles runner, he’s got the speed and the dexterity to run on the outside and dodge tackles.

So far this season, Collins has carried the ball 162 times for 825 yards, with a 5.1 yards per carry. That yards per carry is good for fourth in the NFL, ahead of some notable names like Mark Ingram, Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, and LeSean McCoy.

He’s also averaging 68.8 yards per game, good for 10th in the NFL, ahead of Jay Ajayi and Melvin Gordon, and over the past four weeks, he’s been averaging 76 yards per game.

He’s also shown that he can catch the ball too, logging 10 catches for 88 yards over the past four weeks, including this awesome catch and run from Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers:

I think it’s fair to say that Alex Collins has put this offense on his back and is a major reason why the Baltimore Ravens are currently in the playoff hunt. But there’s reason to wonder about his future – he’s not a huge back, so his ability to handle large workloads could be a concern later on (he hasn’t had over 20 carries in a game yet this year), and while his ball security has been good lately, it’s a problem that’s haunted him since college and could easily pop back up.

It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Baltimore Ravens draft a running back in this year’s NFL Draft as insurance to Collins, especially given the abundance of talent at the position in this year’s draft.

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But for now, Collins has earned his place as the Ravens running back of the future. He’s just 23 years old, and if he keeps playing like he has been, he should be a major offensive weapon for the Baltimore Ravens for many years to come.