Arizona Cardinals: Expect Results From RB David Johnson
By Scott Allen
Many consider running back David Johnson a steal by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2015 NFL Draft
When they called his name, I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about him. I did some research after the pick and quickly found that I was amazed I had not paid more attention to this guy. Running back David Johnson, the third-round pick from Northern Iowa, is a lot like starting running back Andre Ellington.
The difference is Johnson is a little bigger and considered to be a guy whose body may be able to take bigger hits more often. However, don’t go updating that depth chart just yet. Head coach Bruce Arians has said he isn’t going to just hand a job to Johnson.
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I wouldn’t expect him to just hand Johnson anything. Arians makes everyone earn their jobs, even veteran incumbents. Ellington, who is coming off two huge injuries in 2014, is known for his ability to both run and catch the ball. Johnson can do both just as well. He rushed for 4,682 yards with a 5.4 yard-per-carry average and 49 touchdowns at Northern Iowa. He also had 1,734 yards receiving and 14 receiving touchdowns.
That sounds very Ellington-esque to me. To have two guys now in the lineup that have that balance will be terrific. It is just one more weapon for quarterback Carson Palmer. Johnson produced those numbers in college though. Ellington has proven he can produce in the NFL. The biggest question is durability.
If Johnson proves he can take the bigger hits and is less-prone to injury it could be Johnson you see getting the majority of the game touches. Sometimes that might even happen not by design. Arians usually scripts the first 15 plays or so of a game. After that he plays it all based on the direction of the game.
The one thing I think you will see from Johnson will be many touches inside the red zone. We’ve seen Ellington taken out in goal line situations from time to time. This is where I think Johnson first shows his true value. This is just my opinion but that could lead to bigger things down the road and maybe even an eventual replacement as the starter. I know I’m getting ahead of myself but just beware of that real potential.