Bruce Arians lies...a lot. He's lied about Levi Brown being "elite". He's lied about drafting a quarterback and letting him sit and learn and now the question becomes, is he lying about David Johnson?
Many Cardinals fans thought the David Johnson pick in round three was the best pick of the draft by the Arizona Cardinals. They took a guy that has all the things the Cardinals were looking for, a big (6'1" 225lbs) running back, with big play speed, but the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and be a three down back -- something Arians has always liked in his running backs.
Arians is likely pumping the breaks on raising the expectation on Johnson too high, simply because he'll likely start the season as the number two back behind Andre Ellington and get the work that Ellington receieved in his pairing with Rashard Mendenhall in the backfield.
If the Cardinals are able to run the ball more in 2015, the goal it seems like by the offseason additions, how much more are we talking?
In Palmer's only full season in 2013 he dropped back 615 times on the season, throwing 574 times and being sacked 41. 615 pass attempts is a lot, and I don't expect that to change much in 2015, even in Palmer's injury plagued 2014 he was on pace to drop back 621 times.
That brings to question the running game.
If the Cardinals are going to improve the running game which is going to improve the offense as a whole, how will that look?
Bruce Arians offenses do not run the ball a ton, but maybe that will change, maybe he wants to go back to the 2007 Arians offense. If he does, that is 511 then down to 460 in the Super Bowl winning season in 2008.
Let's say that Arians is at 500 rushing attempts in 2015, first off that would put the Cardinals offense at 1100 total plays run, which would be the third most in the NFL, but that would also mean they are running 60 more plays in 2015 than they did in 2013 (Palmer's full year).
If they split the carries up with Ellington getting 55-60 percent and Johnson 30-35 percent, with the rest of the roster getting the 10-15 percent remaining. That means Johnson is getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 carries.
What can you expect production wise?
First, there is a lot of success over the last 15 years with third round and further down running backs drafted.
A lot of the big numbers came from players who saw a lot of carries, but from seven down, those are all potentially carries Johnson could see, maybe outside of Ballard and Williams, but those are not even too out of the realm.
But what if Johnson is getting a little less, what if they are working him in slowly and he gets the Andre Ellington 2013 treatment?
Andre Ellington is the cream of the crop, but can Johnson have Frank Gore, Bernard Pierce, or even Kevan Barlow-like impact? What about a Tim Hightower-like impact in year one? Hightower was a touchdown machine in 2008 and he played a big role in the Cardinals passing game as well. Is this something that should be expected?
What do you think we can look at as being a success for Johnson's rookie year?