A Look at Lorenzo Taliaferro
It is not unforeseeable that the Baltimore Ravens will ask Lorenzo Taliaferro to be a big contributor as a rookie. Ray Rice is facing a suspension. Bernard Pierce is coming off an injury and has never been the feature back. Justin Forsett is a decent player but is no superstar. With Baltimore’s backfield, its an all hands on deck mentality. Lets take a look at the Ravens rookie running back.
I’d be lying to say that I watch a lot of Coastal Carolina football. I had to dig up as much video as I could. It was not easy but I found several highlight videos. So here is what I know so far:
Lorenzo Taliaferro has a big 6’2″ 230 pound body. This is both a positive and a negative. His size and strength naturally make him hard to bring down. However he runs too high making it easier for linebackers to tackle him. Taliaferro is a natural runner, he can make defenders miss as if he feels them coming. With great leg drive he can push a pile and is well suited for goal line carries.
Taliaferro played against a lot of weak competition at Coastal Carolina. The defenders almost seemed afraid of him, an advantage he won’t have in the NFL. One thing that will help him is his strengths suit the passing game. He understands his role in pass protection and is a strong blocker. In one highlight I watched, Taliaferro picked up a blitzing linebacker and changed the backer’s direction twice. Now the QB got sacked, he could not seem to get rid of the ball and the line blocked no one. It might have been a negative play for the team but I was impressed with Taliaferro’s ability to pick up the blitz and his ability to stay with the pass rusher without holding losing his footing. Taliaferro is a good receiver out of the backfield. Running backs who can block and catch will always be able to find playing time.
If there is one critique of Taliaferro is that he does not make something out of nothing. If you block it for four yards he will get the four yards, thats what kind of back he is. He is a downhill and inpatient runner, who does not look for the cutback- this will have to change in the Kubiak/Castillo running game. I love his vision in the open field- as I said he is an instinctive runner. This makes me think its mostly a coaching error leading to this lack of backfield vision. This means that it is fixable.