The Cardinals’ 2013 run game on paper looks phenomenal, but there are question marks based on some bad history.
With the starting job sown up by ex-Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall and the backup spot currently held by Ryan Williams, the jury is out if both these backs can stay healthy. That question led the Cardinals to draft two more running backs for depth and security at the position.
One of the backs drafted was picked in the sixth round goes by the name of Andre Ellington, and he comes from Clemson University, and according to many expert opinions that was a steal, and there is good reason for that.
Andre Ellington put up solid numbers in college, recording 621 carries 3,436 yards, an average of 5.5 yards per carry (YPC) and 33 touchdowns over the course of his four-year college career. Of these totals, the last two years were 1000 yard seasons, which is good production.
It is hard to translate the same production from college to the professional level, but with his 4.5 40-speed and Bruce Arians favorite run, the stretch play, helping him, he should be fine. With the mighty Jonathan Cooper and company pulling, mixing in a screen here and there and his ability to pass protect, the rookie will be able to make an immediate impact on third down.
Ellington has a very quick first cut that allows him to get through the hole and out to the second level fast, and his open-field skills will allow him to get the explosive plays the Cardinals have been lacking in the run game.
If Ellington can get production similar to college, where he recorded touchdown runs of 55, 68, 71 and 74, coaches would have to get him on the field regardless of who is in front of him.
Watch this breakout back begin in preseason where most rookies make their mark. He is a big play waiting to happen, and he’s going to surprise the pundits and make a difference.