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Friday, April 4, 2014
Why Ravens signed RB Justin Forsett

By Jamison Hensley

The Baltimore Ravens got a cheap insurance policy at running back when they signed Justin Forsett to a one-year deal on Friday.

The Ravens need depth at running back because Ray Rice could face a suspension due to his legal matter and Bernard Pierce won't be practicing until training camp because of offseason shoulder surgery.

Forsett
When the Ravens passed on the likes of free agents LeGarrette Blount and Knowshon Moreno, I believe it increased the chances of the team taking a running back in the draft. Now, with the addition of Forsett, it makes it very likely that the Ravens will look at running backs starting in the third round.

The Ravens signed Forsett just in case they don't take a running back in the draft. General manager Ozzie Newsome never wants to be in a situation where he is forced to reach for a player because of need.

Forsett has experience, carrying the ball 347 times in his five-year career. He has a familiarity with Gary Kubiak's system because he played under him in Houston in 2012, when he had 63 carries.

But the Ravens would prefer not to go with Forsett as their No. 3 running back this year. He's on his fourth team in four years, and he gained 31 rushing yards for the Jaguars last season. ESPN's Bill Polian gave Forsett a free-agent grade of D, putting him with the likes of Willis McGahee and Bernard Scott.

The Ravens had the opportunity to bolster the No. 3 running back job this offseason, and running backs were a relative bargain in free agency. If the Ravens add a running back in the draft, it makes more sense why the team passed on the likes of Blount and Moreno.

ESPN's Todd McShay identified Ohio State's Carlos Hyde (second round), Washington's Bishop Sankey (third round) and Florida State's Devonta Freeman (fourth round) as good fits for the Ravens.