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Arizona Cardinals Running Back Outlook for 2018

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David Johnson’s ‘bounce back’ year, Re-introduction of the Fullbacks

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-Training Camp Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t long ago when David Johnson posted over 100 scrimmage yards in each of the first 15 games of the 2016 season. That same season, he led the NFL in all-purpose yards (2,118) and touchdowns (20). He has established himself as one of the NFL’s most dynamics players. After suffering a leg injury at the conclusion of the 2016 season and a wrist injury in the 2017 season opener, he is ready to return to form. His goal of 1,500 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards remains a possibility that can come to fruition. An extension could be coming soon.

The Cardinals’ primary backup running back position is wide open. Chase Edmonds, Cardinals’ fourth round pick, was nothing short of impressive at Fordham. He became the Patriot League’s all-time leading rusher with 5,677 yards and would have broken national records had it not been for injuries that derailed his senior season. He finished with 74 total touchdowns in his college career.

T.J. Logan briefly showcased his play-making ability in the 2017 preseason opener. He was the fastest running back in the 2017 draft but was sidelined for the entire season due to a wrist injury. Arizona native D.J. Foster should not be ruled out of the Cardinals’ final roster yet. He may lack the speed that both Edmonds and Logan have but he shares the same versatility as a pass catcher. Maybe undrafted rookie Sherman Badie will surprise the team during the preseason. They will provide Johnson with the change of pace ability that will keep them all fresh and healthy.

What is most important in the rejuvenation of the run game is the return of the fullback position. Derrick Coleman is highly regarded as a special teams player, in addition to being an excellent run blocker. Elijhaa Penny is transitioning from being a running back to a fullback and will compete for fullback duties. The Cardinals did not use a fullback throughout the Bruce Arians era and the re-introduction of the position under Steve Wilks could do wonders for the entire offense.

Arizona Cardinals have plenty of options at running back, which is good for Wilk’s run-oriented offense. They are all versatile, whether it be a pass catcher or blocker. The ineffectiveness to convert on third downs may have been resolved with fullbacks leading the way. With that said, there is a lot to like about this stable of young running backs.