Analyzing the Arizona Cardinals running backs for 2023 (Who will spell Conner?)
By Sion Fawkes
The Arizona Cardinals have five running backs vying for as many as four spots. So who will make the cut, and who could wind up on the practice squad?
Following the 2023 NFL Draft, I made my predictions for the Arizona Cardinals 53 man roster for when Week 1 of the 2023 season rolls around. And while I praised general manager Monti Ossenfort following his first draft, I was disappointed to see that he did not draft a running back, as behind James Conner, there was little proven talent on the roster.
So who will line up behind Conner and hopefully take some slack off of the hard-running, but injury-prone back? Keep reading for a rundown.
What will the Arizona Cardinals backfield look like in 2023?
Projected Starter: James Conner; Backups: Emari Demercado, Keaontay Ingram, Corey Clement; Odd Man Out/Practice Squad: Ty’Son Williams
When James Conner isn’t nursing an injury, he’s one of the league’s better running backs. Early in 2022, he struggled, but once healthy, he found his footing and once again became an effective runner.
Unfortunately, following Eno Benjamin’s unceremonious release, the cupboard was empty behind Conner. Keaontay Ingram saw some action, but he inspired no one, leading me to believe newly-signed undrafted free agent Emari Demercado could wind up as the RB2.
Demercado didn’t see the field much during his time at TCU, but he was an effective part of their national championship run last season, proving he can play against top-tier talent. Corey Clement has been in the league since 2017, and the 29-year-old could become a good insurance policy should Conner, Ingram, or Demercado go down with an injury.
Ty’Son Williams is my current odd man out, but he has had success in this league during a one-year stint with the Baltimore Ravens. He could stick to the practice squad.
Conner shouldn’t be carrying the load this season, given his injury history, so look for either Ingram or Demercado to battle it out for the RB2 job and cut into Conner’s carries. Clement will operate as insurance, while Williams will either be cut or he will find a spot on the practice squad.