Heading into the 2017 season there is a lot expected of the Arizona Cardinals, especially their offense.
Some are obvious, some are a bit out there, but here are three potential Pro Bowl picks for the Arizona Cardinals offense for 2017.
David Johnson - Running Back
There should be no doubt that David Johnson will be a pro-bowler this year after a very successful 2016 season. If you are a Cardinals fan, you probably know all the stats, and all the accolades. 1,239 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 4.2 yards per carry on 293 carries. Modest gains that led to the All-Pro selection.
I don't want to say that Johnson will be MVP, because if anyone has seen the way the NFL is, no single player has ever been in the MVP talks two seasons in a row (excluding Tom Brady). In an ever changing NFL, David Johnson does seem like the future, not the past, of the running back position. You need to block (took a huge step forward from a poor 2015 season), catch (80 catches, 879 yards, 11.0 average), and be a patient runner. Watch out for Johnson.
Alternatives: Larry Fitzgerald - Wide Receiver, Carson Palmer - Quarterback, Mike Iupati - Offensive Guard
D.J. Humphries - Offensive Tackle
The stats for the Cardinals O-line might have been a little bit disappointing because of the multiple injuries incurred during the season. There were at least eight different offensive line combinations, and yet a potential breakout star might have been discovered through the ashes. D.J. Humphries took a lot of flack from everyone in the league for not playing his rookie year, but the trial by fire made him a better player.
I don't know if Humphries can be a legit building block for the Cardinals, all he has to do is be a solid left tackle, and some things will play out very well for the Cardinals. But I'm playing the “what-if” game. What if Humphries is so good that he tests off the roof for PFF? For Humphries to still make the pro-bowl, his whole o-line would have to perform well also (a la: Dallas Cowboys).
*Side note: If D.J. Humphries becomes a pro-bowl player, that could make Jared Veldheer and/or Mike Iupati expendable, time to start thinking about extending the 2015 class; Johnson, Markus Golden, Humphries, and J.J. Nelson.
Cole Toner - Offensive Lineman
I cannot even begin to tell you how Toner would become a pro-bowler, or why I chose two o-lineman for the Cardinals, but surprise! Surprise? I don't know, just deal with it. Toner is going into training camp in a stiff competition with John Wetzel, Evan Boehm, and Tony Bergstrom for the right guard position. There are some reasons why Toner/Wetzel could come out the big winner in this competition.
A.Q. Shipley has been injured, should be ready for training camp, but what if it lingers? B. Evan Boehm has only played a game and a half at right guard, and realistically has very short arms. If Toner were to win the spot, something should have gone very well for the Cardinals for him to earn a pro-bowl spot. I think it's completely possible, he just needs to open some pretty big holes, and be able to get to the second level. If Toner comes out as a pro-bowler, that means Evan Boehm could be a career back-up.