Posted on April 21, 2014 by Phil Gentile

Every website has discussed the possible 1st round talent the Ravens might take in May's NFL Draft. Here at Purple Reign we want to dig a bit deeper. Here are some mid-late round running backs that could see the field given Ray Rice's legal issues and Bernard Pierce's recent surgery.

Previous late-round sleeper posts: 

Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State

Photo Credit: David Campbell/Alabama State University

The former Alabama State Hornet might just be the most talented back in the 2014 draft class. He started his collegiate career at Georgia but was dismissed after a weapons arrest. Crowell made the most of a second chance, racking up 30 rushing touchdowns during his time at Alabama State. Here is what Bleacher Report's Matt Miller had to say about him:

"Crowell has all the natural talent in the world. He's powerfully built with the legs needed to drive through would-be tacklers and pick up positive yardage. Crowell definitely fits the model of a franchise running back."

His combo of size and speed make him the ideal fit for any team in need of an every down back. The question marks about Crowell come off the field. Either way the Ravens could get the steal of the draft if Crowell falls into their laps in the later rounds.

Dri Archer, Kent State

While his size (5'8") isn't very imposing, Archer posted the second fastest 40 yard dash time in NFL combine history at 4.26. He's not an every-down back like Crowell but more like the next Darren Sproles or Dexter McCluster. Nothing wrong with having a dynamic weapon like that in today's NFL. Archer's draft stock seems to go up everyday and right now he's probably looking at being selected in the 3rd round.

Storm Johnson, Central Florida

Photo Credit: Joshua C. Cruey / Orlando Sentinel

Love everything about this dude. Love his running style, his versatility (caught thirty passes as a junior), and not to mention his name. He sounds like an American Gladiator and was named First-Team All-AAC in 2013. What's not to like? He's a big back that gets the tough yardage and that always translates to the next level. Many scouts and NFL general managers believe Johnson has superstar potential at the pro level so taking a chance on him in the 4th or 5th round could be a great investment.

James White, Wisconsin

Here's a guy I heard a ton about during the college football season but zero during the draft process. Had 1,444 rushing yards in 2013 and 39 receptions to go with it. White was overshadowed by Monte Ball during his time at Wisconsin but I see the potential. He's got great vision which is keep in Kubiak's offense. Only problem is he's a bit undersized to handle a full workload so he will likely be a 6th-7th round pick.

Devonta Freeman, Florida State

The folks at Rotoworld see Freeman as the "best running back in this draft". Our buddy Rumford Johnny has high praise for the former Seminole as well. Freeman lacks power and elite speed but he is a decisive runner with pass blocking and pass catching experience. If he landed here in Baltimore I could see him being part of a three-headed monster with Rice and Pierce and possibly moving into a larger role if one or both were forced to miss some time in 2014.

next up:

Q&A w/ Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro

April 20, 2014

The Purple Reign crew speaks to Maryland native and former Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro


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