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Three Potential Cardinal Runningbacks

A look at three guys who could possibly wind up with the Cardinals in 2017.

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Arkansas Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

This past week we went ahead and looked at three Quarterbacks who the Cardinals could nab in the first few rounds. It was well received and a lot of healthy discussion ensued. This time around we’re going to look at three runningbacks who should be on the Cardinals radar on Draft Day.

Keep in mind, the Cardinals already have their starter. The players to be mentioned are more backup role type players. None of these guys are going to be top tier draft selections.

Elijah McGuire:

NCAA Football: New Orleans Bowl-Southern Mississippi at UL Lafayette Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The first guy on this list is someone I’ve kept an eye on since last season. I did my annual “Highlights” binge. It started with Ezekiel Elliot, went to Christian McCaffrey, and ultimately to McGuire.

McGuire, out of UL Lafayette, stands at 5’9, 212 pounds, so his short stature is almost purely muscle. In his career, McGuire carried the ball 711 times, racking up 4300 yards on the ground, and finding the endzone 42 times. He averaged six yards a carry in his collegiate career.

While McGuire is short and stocky, that does not hinder his speed. He’s a guy who can find a small hole, slide through, and beat the defense 70 yards for a touchdown. McGuire also adds the threat out of the backfield. He lined up as a receiver at times for the “Ragin’ Cajuns”, and was very good at it. He caught 129 passes for 1400 yards and 10 scores.

McGuire trusts his offensive line too much at times. He will sometimes wait too long for them to open a hole, instead of just fighting for yards. By the time the hole he wants opens, the Defense is likely already around him taking him to the ground.

McGuire is a day three projection, and someone who could fill in the shoes many thought Andre Ellington was supposed to play in.

Donnel Pumphrey:

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Pumphrey caught my eye during the Senior Bowl. His quickness was on display, and after getting hit hard a few times, he popped right back up. Pumphrey stands at 5’8, 169 lbs, which is why watching him get hit hard was a key to watch.

Pumphrey played collegiately at San Diego State University. There he ran 1059 times, picked up 6405 yards and ran in 62 touchdowns. Pumphrey is currently the all-time leading rusher in FBS history, surpassing Ron Dayne’s record set in 1999.

Pumphrey also adds value as a receiver He had 100 catches in his career, racking up 1041 yards and scoring five times. He has the speed and quickness to beat Linebackers, to beat a safety, and to go one on one with a corner. His height disadvantage will limit him to receiving out of the backfield, but that will only make him an even greater threat, as teams wont throw a corner to cover a runningback.

He’s very durable. He did not miss any games in college, and teams will be eager to see if that can translate to the NFL. Pumphrey is able to accelerate to full speed quickly, which allows him to get in front of whoever is covering him. He’s a very patient runner. Typically you would see a fast player run the ball and not allow his blocks to develop. He showed on numerous carries while with SD State that he’s willing to allow his line to make their blocks, and then go through the hole, before he starts dancing around trying to make things happen.

There are two red flags to keep an eye on. Can Pumphrey continue to stay healthy, even against bigger and stronger opponents than in college? The other is his hands. Pumphrey has always been a body catcher. His hands measured in at 8 14 inches during the Senior Bowl, which showed why he allows to ball to hit him in the gut. Can he develop into more of a hands type catcher?

Pumphrey will likely be a third down back in the NFL. He fits Arians mold of being able to catch out of the backfield, and has that speed that Arians loves. He may not be a blocker in the NFL, but with his speed he can be a homerun threat in the NFL.

Pumphrey will likely be selected in the fourth or fifth rounds, giving the Cardinals a chance to do a little extra homework on him.

D’Onta Foreman:

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Foreman will likely be the first runningback to go from this list. Foreman isn’t receiving a lot of attention Pre-Combine, but I expect that to change with how he performs at the upcoming combine.

Foreman did not gain a full workload until his junior season. His sophomore season saw him get an increase in carries, but never really carried the team until his junior season. The Texas Longhorns runningback carried the ball 433 times in his career, registering 2782 yards and 20 touchdowns. His junior season inflated those numbers.

Very little is known about Foreman as a receiver. He only caught 13 passes for 146 yards and no scores.

Foreman is a powerful runner, at 6’1, 249lbs, you expect that. His size does not limit his speed however, as he has the ability to break long runs after first contact. He looks for contact, and it shows when he was used as a pass protector, continually finding a guy to block if he had no one.

His biggest concern entering the draft is his inability to protect the football. This is showcased by fumbling the ball every 73.5 touches. That’s a huge rate. A lot of scouts would like to see him lose a few pounds coming into the league, and that's something that would be addressed during offseason conditioning.

As of right now, Foreman can go anywhere from the second to the fourth. His combine performance will be a huge determining factor on where he lands.

What are your thoughts? Any other mid-late round backs you would want to see? Discuss below!

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