At present, there’s no better team in the NFL than the Ravens. They’re teeming with talent in every facet of the game, potentially possessing the best offense, best defense, and best special teams unit in all the land. With the regular season but one game away from completion, a cursory glance at John Harbaugh’s squad reveals very few weaknesses.
One of those frailties could be in the backfield, however. Baltimore is struggling to repair its running back room after season-ending blows to J.K. Dobbins (Achilles) and Keaton Mitchell (knee).
Although the triumvirate of Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill have proved prolific at different points this season, Baltimore’s rushing attack isn’t necessarily one to write home about.
So, with the Ravens staring at their best chance to win a title since 2013, they decided to make a splash. Baltimore inked Dalvin Cook to a contract on Thursday after he cleared waivers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Cook has long been seen as one of the league’s biggest rushing names, and although this year hasn’t been particularly effective for him, perhaps a change of scenery could be just what Cook needs to spark himself back into form.
So, why did Baltimore sign Cook after his 15-game stint with the Jets ended in heartbreak? Here’s what you need to know about Cook’s style of play, as well as his fit in Todd Monken’s system going forward.
Ravens RB depth chart
Melvin Gordon III
Cook’s arrival adds another body to Baltimore’s running back corps, with the former Pro Bowler joining Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and Melvin Gordon as backfield options in Todd Monken’s system.
The Ravens were always in need of RB support given their penchant for injuries at the position. Keaton Mitchell was the latest tailback to fall victim to a serious malady, suffering a torn ACL just three weeks ago.
As such, Monken had entrusted Edwards, Hill, and, to a lesser extent, Gordon, to carry the rushing load. Edwards and Hill have adjusted to their promotions seamlessly, with Edwards continuing to regularly breach the goal line (13 TDs) and Hill showcasing real versatility as a dual-threat hybrid in recent weeks.
Cook still likely carries a higher ceiling than any of the three running backs Baltimore has in its RB room. Although the 28-year-old four-time Pro Bowler has certainly fallen off of his typical 1,000-yard pace, his potential as a key back could be worth the risk. He won’t have to carry the brunt of the offense, as that responsibility belongs to MVP favorite Lamar Jackson.
Draped in royal purple once more, perhaps Cook can find his footing under the glare of postseason football. If so, the Ravens may have found a gem right before the season reaches its crescendo.
Dalvin Cook stats 2023
Cook toiled behind a banged-up, overwhelmed offensive line in Jets green this year, posting just 214 yards on 67 carries. He failed to record a touchdown and averaged just 3.2 yards per carry throughout the campaign.
It was by far the worst year of his professional career. Prior to 2023, Cook never averaged fewer than 4.4 yards per carry in a single season, including his final campaign in Minnesota when he racked up 1,468 total yards and 10 TDs while playing all 17 games.
Dalvin Cook in 2023
Yards per carry|