Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians can be accused on using hyperbole at times. He did say at one time what he saw on tape of Levi Brown was "elite." He can also be super critical, as he was this last season of Calais Campbell. But he gave some very high praise to running back David Johnson on Wednesday at the NFL Combine, when he addressed the media.
When he was asked about Johnson being one of the best backs in the league, Arians wasn't ready to say that. But he did pile on a load of expectations.
"I can't say after one year's work that he is one of the best, but he has a chance to be one of the all-time best," he said.
One of the all-time best? After playing only seven games as a starter?
That's crazy, right?
It would seem that saying this sets the kid for failure if he doesn't become a generational back.
However, it also is only saying he has the potential to be that. He and general manager Steve Keim rave about his skill set. He has size, speed, balance, lateral movement and ball skills. It is almost like he could be a mix of Matt Forte and Todd Gurley. So the potential is there, and his character is outstanding, too.
But Cardinals fans have gotten their hopes up for far too many running backs only to be disappointed. Beanie Wells and Andre Ellington are recent examples. Anthony Thompson, Garrison Hearst, Thomas Jones, Leeland McElroy. The list goes on.
Even the backs who exceeded early expectations because of being drafted late saw their success fade quickly -- Johnny Johnson, Ronald Moore and Tim Hightower come to mind.
Fans are already excited for Johnson. He does have the look of a special back. Arians is right when he speaks of his potential.
Should he pile on these expectations so early? I suppose he would know better than you or I if that will negatively affect his progress. But fans should just be excited. Don't expect him to play as a Hall of Fame back. Watch him develop and don't heap too many expectations on your own hopes.
But seriously, how jacked up are you about seeing what 2016 has in store for Johnson?