Arizona Cardinals: David Johnson, Rookie of the Year?


With one week left in the season, rookie running back David Johnson should be the favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

As a third round pick out of Northern Iowa, many Cardinal fans were excited about what David Johnson would bring to the table. Many expected Johnson to take a back seat to Andre Ellington and possibly be the third down and/or goal line back. After some unfortunate injuries to Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, David Johnson was thrust into the starting role and ran with it.

Before even becoming the feature back, Johnson made a significant impact on the offensive side of the ball and became another weapon for quarterback Carson Palmer. In his 11 games as a back up, David Johnson totaled 923 yards of offense and 8 touchdowns (including a kick off return for a touchdown.) Since being named the starter in Week 13, Johnson has racked up 599 yards in total offense and 5 total touchdowns in just 4 games.

As it has been throughout the season, a majority of what the Cardinals players have been doing this season have largely gone unnoticed. Popular opinion has declared Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston and St. Louis Rams’ running back Todd Gurley as the favorites to be named Offensive Rookie of the Year. Both of these players have put up impressive rookie campaigns. Winston has thrown for 3422 yards and 20 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, while also running for 189 yards and 5 touchdowns. Gurley has ran for 1023 yards and 9 touchdowns, and was recently named to the Pro Bowl roster.

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David Johnson is tied for second in the NFL for total touchdowns with 13 as a rookie. He has more touchdowns than players named Adrian Peterson, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. While the numbers certainly help Johnson’s case for rookie of the year, this is not the only reason as to why he he should win the award.

The one thing that separates David Johnson from Winston and Gurley is Johnson’s mental toughness. It’s not easy to ask a third round rookie to become the starting running back for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. It’s also difficult to expect a third round rookie to fill in the shoes of both a former All-Pro running back and the team’s starting back from the previous season. Johnson has more than risen to the task as evident by his numbers in hist first four games a starter.

The regular season finale against a tough Seattle Seahawks defense will be Johnson’s last and possibly his best chance to prove why he should win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Seattle boasts a run defense ranked third in the league. If David Johnson can torch a playoff bound Seattle team, it will be that much harder to argue Johnson’s case for the award.