Beast Mode, redux: Ravens bring in Derrius Guice for pre-draft visit

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The Baltimore Ravens reportedly brought in LSU’s Derrius Guice for a pre-draft visit Thursday, which will stir up the debate whether the team will take a running back at the No. 16 overall pick.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta cheap have both said this offseason that the team will consider drafting a running back even though it’s not considered the most pressing need on offense. Baltimore has depth in the backfield with Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon and Buck Allen, but the Ravens made it clear that they’re not passing on an elite playmaker.

“If there’s a guy that we think is a special running back, a guy that can take a game over with his unique skill set, we’ll take that guy,” DeCosta told the team’s website at the Senior Bowl. “And there are some guys in the draft that can do that.”

Guice is the consensus No. 2 running back in this draft behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, who is projected to go in the top five picks. Guice’s 6.5 yards per-carry average in a three-year career is the second highest in SEC history behind Bo Jackson’s 6.6, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Given his “unique skill set,” Guice has to intrigue the Ravens. He forced 35 missed tackles last season (fourth in college football, according to Pro Football Focus) despite dealing with an ankle injury. Over the last two seasons, Guice has produced 974 yards after contact, which is just 12 yards fewer than Barkley.

His angry running style is reminiscent of Marshawn Lynch, who has pounded out over 10,000 yards rushing for the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders.

What separates Guice from the rest of this year’s running backs is how hard he runs. He is a powerful runner who refuses to go down after initial contact and repeatedly lowers his shoulder to take on a defender rather than go out of bounds.

“I see angriness, I see somebody who refuses to go down,” Guice said about Lynch. “When I run, I think about him every time. And when I go back and watch him, ‘Man, I really run like this dude.’ It’s crazy.”

Many of the Ravens’ pre-draft visits include players who have injury or character concerns. Guice was slowed throughout last season due to his injured ankle, which will probably get examined by the Ravens’ trainers and doctors.