OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After their worst season in franchise history running the football, the Ravens made it clear they were committed to adding another impact running back to the mix this offseason and did exactly that with the fourth-round selection of Coastal Carolina’s Lorenzo Taliaferro.
The 230-pound back was praised by assistant general manager Eric DeCosta at last week’s pre-draft press conference and rushed for 1,729 yards and 27 touchdowns in 15 starts last fall. Those numbers helped him earn the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
“I’ll bring energy as well as a great work ethic,” Taliaferro said in a conference call. “I think that I can move the ball between the tackles and short yardage. Whatever is asked, I can do.”
Taliaferro began his collegiate career at Lackawanna College before moving to Coastal Carolina for the 2012 season. His draft stock began to rise after an impressive week at the Senior Bowl in January as he was able to show off his strong pass-blocking skills as well as his ability to carry the football.
His 4.58-second 40-yard dash time isn’t overwhelming, but he believes he is deceptively fast with his bigger frame. He compared his running style to Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy when asked by reporters what other backs are similar to him.
With Ray Rice averaging a career-worst 3.1 yards per carry and still facing potential league discipline due to a domestic incident in Atlantic City in February, Baltimore knew it needed to add another running back as 2012 third-round pick Bernard Pierce averaged only 2.9 yards per carry last season and is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.