Saints add former Ravens RB Javorius Allen
The New Orleans Saints officially added backfield insurance Wednesday when they signed former Baltimore Ravens starting running back Javorius “Buck” Allen. Allen is now competing for the third position in the depth chart behind Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. The move was first officially reported by Field Yates.
Allen worked out alongside former Carolina Panthers running back Fozzy Whittaker and former Washington Redskins running back Rob Kelley, among others, when the Saints hosted a string of free agents last week, but as of today, Allen is the only one to have been signed following last week.
He joins a crowded competing backfield for the third spot, as the Saints’ top reserve from last season, Dwayne Washington, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2016 draft by the Detroit Lions, looms as his closest competition. Among him sits undrafted rookie free agent Devine Ozigbo and free agent Matt Dayes (Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers).
Allen, the 27-year-old 2015 fourth-round pick by the Ravens, ended up becoming the starter for Baltimore in his rookie season after both starter Justin Forsett and backup Lorenzo Taliaferro both found themselves on injured reserve. When Forsett broke his arm early in the week 11 matchup with the St. Louis Rams, Allen jumped in for a career-high 22-carry, 67-yard rushing day, paired with five receptions for 48 yards. Buck got his first career start a week later against the Browns on Monday Night Football where he scored his first career touchdown.
His string of starts took a hit in 2016 after the Ravens added Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon to their backfield, making Allen become virtually nonexistent. He finished the season with just nine rushes for 34 yards and three receptions for 15 yards.
Allen was used in a split-role for the 2017 season after Baltimore lost Danny Woodhead in the season opener and relied on him and West in an unbalanced season. Allen finished with 591 rushing yards and 250 receiving yards with six total touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving) in the campaign.
He then took another backseat in the 2018 season after struggling with minor nagging injuries before completely getting outshined with the random breakout emergence of Gus Edwards mid-way through the season. In a must-win game against the Cincinnati Bengals last season, the Ravens dressed four backs, but Edwards’ 117-yard breakout day helped Baltimore to the 24-21 division victory. Edwards was the first running back on the season for the Ravens to rush for more than 100 yards and he and quarterback Lamar Jackson were the first duo since 2012 to rush for more than 100 yards for the team in the same game (Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce). Bad news for Allen.
With Allen put to the back burner since the emergence of Edwards, he looks to take his rushing and pass-catching abilities, something the Saints like to implement in their running backs and offense, to New Orleans in hopes of becoming another secret weapon for Sean Payton.