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David Johnson 'not even in the picture yet' on offense

The rookie has to earn a spot, says the Arizona head coach.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

There has been plenty of talk about how running back David Johnson, the third round pick for the Arizona Cardinals, is going to play a big role in the offense this season. Running backs coach Stump Mitchell recently said he thinks Johnson will be "a piece of the puzzle" this season and will push Andre Ellington.

But head coach Bruce Arians is pushing the brakes a bit on the hype train.

When asked how the workload will be split up between Johnson and Ellington offense, Arians said, "David's not even in the picture yet," sounding like a guy who likes to manage the hype himself after having been the promoter of third round picks Tyrann Mathieu and John Brown early in the offseason the last two years.

"He's just a rookie," he continued. "Andre's still the guy and the other three (Kerwynn Williams, Marion Grice and Stepfan Taylor) are fighting for their roles, and David is trying to find his niche. He ain't getting shit yet."

Clearly the Cardinals drafted Johnson because they believe he can contribute. He is, after all, the perfect fit for what they sought out to get this offseason in a running back. But he is being respectful to the guys on the roster who have already been on an NFL roster and have proven themselves to Arians in practice. Plus, with a guy like Williams, he has already had success on game day.

What does Williams have to show his head coach? It really won't happen until training camp. "I want to see him in pads and run the ball," Arians said. "He's smart, He does a lot of different things position-wise and we'll see when we put pads on."

Until then, it will be second field duty for him, getting his reps and learning the offense.