March 12 is the day that free agency begins and the new league year commences. The first few days tend to be the craziest with big signings. The Arizona Cardinals have several key contributors that are free agents, including running back LaRod Stephens-Howling. In fact, LSH is considered by Pro Football Focus as one of the top available running backs in free agency.
PFF ranks him as the ninth best available back in the market.
Initially a special teams ace, "Hyphen" has always been up to the task of delivering when the Cardinals have called his number. Unfortunately, a woeful offensive line made life extremely hard on Stephens-Howling , who struggled to get much going despite forcing 28 missed tackles on his 128 touches.
Therein lies his problem. He'll always need a degree of help in getting into space where his speed and deceptive power can help him create things. At a listed 180lbs he's just not cut out for a hugely significant role, but then you look at the success a guy like Danny Woodhead has had, and wonder, why can't he have something similar?
This is what I think about it -- he can have a significant role. It was proven this year. He isn't Adrian Peterson. He will need a little bit of help from the line, but he was very good at eluding defenders and more power than you think.
I really would love to see him back in a more significant role than just the guy getting the bulk of the carries when the guys ahead of him are hurt. I think he can be a starter or a number two that gets significant carries and snaps.
Unfortunately for the Cards, I don't think he would be that guy here because of the personnel already here. I do, though, believe that he will get a chance elsewhere for a bigger role, and I think that he will be successful. Of course, the negative to that is that he probably won't be back in Arizona.
Perhaps it just means it is not a strong running back class, but more likely it means that LSH just might have a market and we may not see him in a Cardinals uniform next season.
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