Andre Ellington, running back or receiver?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arians plans to keep him mostly a running back.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has said this offseason that he plans to build the team's offense around the special skills of second-year running back Andre Ellington.

At the NFL owners meetings on Wednesday, Arians was asked about Ellington and his plan to use him (via the team's official website).

He said that Carson Palmer told Arians Ellington should be a receiver. Arians hedged, saying instead that Ellington would be "a wideout as a receiver." In other words, they will keep him as a back that causes problems for opposing defenses, as he will sometimes line up in the slot  or even outside.

Arians talked about how Ellngton couldn't carry the ball 30 times a game as a traditional back, but suggested 30 touches -- "10 catches and 20 carries."

He would use Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer as his traditional backs who would get those "dirty" carries that punish defenses, leaving Ellington to be more of a home run threat to make dynamic plays.

I have suggested that I think Ellington might become the team's number real number three receiver.

Perhaps that won't be the case, but I don't think that Arians is actually going to get Ellington 30 touches a game. The likelihood is that the way he was used in the second half of the season will be the way he is used all season. I expect 15-20 touches and even then, he might not have the most carries on the team. I still expect to see him on the field no more than 40-45 offensive snaps.

I don't see him getting 10 catches a game. The team already has Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. They should get more shots in the passing game.

Don't be fooled. Ellington will be more important to the offense starting Week 1 than he was in Week 1 of 2013, but I don't think that he will be used significantly more than he was during the last half of the season.

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