Why the Arizona Cardinals running backs may be an exciting unit in 2023

The Arizona Cardinals are going to be an interesting team overall in 2023, thanks to their young players lining up behind featured back James Conner.

Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Keaontay Ingram (30) against
Oct 20, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Keaontay Ingram (30) against / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The excitement at running back begins behind James Conner, who will, if healthy, be the Arizona Cardinals RB1 to open the season. And I say “if healthy,” because Conner has a history of being an injury-prone player, but let’s hope that’s not why the Redbirds running backs may be an exciting group in 2023.

Instead, let’s talk about why someone slated to begin the season behind Conner, as an RB2 or RB3 will have the potential to step up and show off what they can do, spelling the team’s featured back in an offensive system geared toward helping them succeed. One exciting player is Ty’Son Williams, who I stated in a previous piece could possibly open the season as an RB2 if the 27-year-old proves he deserves a spot on the team.

Arizona Cardinals backfield could be full of surprises

Williams showed us he can produce in a short stint with the Baltimore Ravens, and with the Cardinals offense gearing itself toward the running game, he could reach ‘late-bloomer’ status. Then there is Keaontay Ingram, who, while underwhelming last season, could always make that coveted jump from Year 1 to Year 2 now that he’s had a year to acclimate himself to the NFL.

And if he does, then Ingram could put an end to the “what could’ve been” speculation regarding Eno Benjamin, who looked like a legitimate RB2 before he was cut at midseason in 2022. Finally, we have Emari Demercado, an undrafted rookie who could also surprise us with a strong camp and become the dark horse winner of an RB2 role. 

Overall, the Arizona Cardinals have three backs behind Conner, four if you count projected special-teamer Corey Clement, that have done little in the NFL. But there is always that potential element of surprise, and all four backs slated to line up behind Conner this season are worth watching based on the potential that they could enjoy an unforgettable camp and preseason, and they could very well find themselves emerging as the RB2 behind a healthy James Conner.

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(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)