Alex Collins on quest to prove he's Ravens' No. 1 RB

The NFL is full of players coming from nowhere to lead their team. Heck, the greatest of all time, Tom Brady, was a sixth-round pick.

Alex Collins is plowing well-worn ground in his quest to prove he's a No. 1 running back.

"That's my main focus," Collins said this week, via the team's official website. "I know I'm capable of it. It's more so just me trying to show everyone else that capability as well."

A former fifth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2016, Collins was squeezed out of Seattle's crowded backfield and cut before last season. He latched on Baltimore's practice squad.

It took just 11 days for the Ravens to realize Collins was far too good of a runner for the practice squad. He was called up to the active roster in Week 2 and became the full-time starter in Week 6.

Collins toted the ball 212 times last season but believes he can take on a bigger role in 2018 after recently signing his exclusive rights tender.

"I know I'm durable, I can handle the load, and I can do whatever it takes," Collins said. "Throw me out into the fire and I'll show you guys my capabilities. That's my main focus when I'm out there. Let them know in here now that I can do it, I want to do it, and I can take the load. It's just as far as if they're ready for me to do that or not."

A bulldozing bludgeoner, Collins owns the power to bowl over defenders, the nimble feet to tiptoe through holes, and enough speed to outrun defensive backs in the open field. His collection of angry runs from last season could start its own catalogue and made him one of the more entertaining running backs in the NFL last season.

Collins ranked 11th in the NFL in rushing in 2017 with 973 yards, despite the slow start and seeing only 15 or more carries in eight games. His 212 totes were far fewer than those around him on the list (Ezekiel Elliott 10th with 242; C.J. Anderson 9th, 245; Leonard Fournette, 8th, 268). Collins' 4.6 yards per carry sits just below Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley (4.7).

Heading into next week's draft, Collins has a clear-cut path to the every-down role. If the Ravens don't add a player from a deep class, their faith in Collins would be obvious. Behind Collins currently sits Javorius Allen (primarily used as a pass-catching back) and Kenneth Dixon (coming off a season lost to a torn meniscus).

The biggest question mark in Collins' game is his pass-catching acumen (just 23 catches for 187 yards last season). With Danny Woodhead retiring there are some pass-catching snaps open to prove he can be that every-down player.

"I can catch, I can protect, and I would love that role as well," Collins said. "I just want to be groomed into it."

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