Fans of the Arizona Cardinals were not that surprised when Kenyan Drake left the team back in March. The free agent running back got more money from the Las Vegas Raiders than Cards general manager Steve Keim was willing to part with. Though his departure was not unexpected, Drake must now be replaced by the club sometime before the season-opener rolls around in September.
Actually, the Cardinals may be able to land a new ball-carrier during this month’s NFL Draft. While it’s unlikely that Keim would spend Arizona’s first-round pick on the position, it’s entirely possible that the franchise’s second-round choice may be used on someone who can tote the rock. The organization holds the 49th-overall selection, and there are three extremely-talented backs who could be available for the Redbirds at that spot.
The Cards would be getting incredible value if the University of Alabama’s Najee Harris tumbles down the draft board and into their waiting arms at the 49th slot. In his four campaigns with the Crimson Tide, the 6’2, 230 pounder racked up 3,843 rushing yards, 781 receiving yards and 57 total touchdowns. Harris, who has been falling into the second round in some recent mock drafts, would be a phenomenal component for the “Air Raid” offense.
Another possibility for the Cardinals on the second night of the 2021 draft is Clemson University’s Travis Etienne. In his four years at the school, the 5’10, 205 pounder tallied 4,952 yards and a whopping 70 scores on the ground. Etienne also hauled in 102 passes for another 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns for the Tigers.
One more running back who Arizona could consider selecting in the second round is the University of North Carolina’s Javonte Williams. The 5’10, 220 pounder registered 2,297 rushing yards, 539 receiving yards and a total of 33 trips into the end zone for the college. The 20-year old Williams appeared in 34 games during his three seasons with the Tar Heels.
At the moment, fourth-year pro Chase Edmonds is the number-one ball-carrier on the Cards depth chart. However, the 5’9, 205 pounder may not have the size to play the role of a workhorse back. Harris, Etienne and Williams are outstanding prospects, and either of the three would be an excellent addition to the Cardinals backfield.