Arizona Cardinals could upgrade running backs room with Kareem Hunt
By Jim Koch
The 2017 Pro Bowler could join James Conner and give the Arizona Cardinals offense a two-pronged attack at running back.
There's been a ton of speculation lately about what the Arizona Cardinals offense is going to look like next fall. Drew Petzing, the squad's new offensive coordinator, is expected to bring certain aspects of the Cleveland Browns attack to his new employer. If that's true, Cards fans can expect to see gameplans that are centered primarily around running the football.
To make that type of system successful, general manager Monti Ossenfort is going to need to add more talent to the Arizona backfield. One name that's been tossed around lately is Kareem Hunt, the Browns ball-carrier who seemed headed for superstardom back in 2017. Could Petzing convince Ossenfort to bring the 27-year-old to the "Valley of the Sun"?
At the moment, the Cardinals feature a flat-out bruiser at the running back spot. James Conner, the two-time Pro Bowler who's entering his third year with the organization, is slated to be the workhorse. In today's NFL, however, it's not out of the norm to have at least two individuals who can excel at the position.
Obviously, Petzing and Hunt are familiar with each other from the time they spent together in Cleveland. A reunion with the Redbirds would seem to make a whole lot of sense for both parties. Take one look at the club's current depth chart at running back, and you'll probably wonder why Hunt hasn't already been offered a contract by Ossenfort.
Kareem Hunt would immediately slide in as the number-two option at running back for the Arizona Cardinals
If the injury-prone Conner was forced to miss time in 2023, journeyman Corey Clement would be inserted into the starting lineup. That could spell disaster, even for a team that is obviously in "rebuilding" mode. The situation is even more dire when you look behind Clement, with names like Keaontay Ingram, Ty'son Williams and Emari Denercado rounding out an unimpressive group of Arizona running backs.
Hunt was a Pro Bowler performer six years ago as a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs. In his 16 starts that season, the third-round draft pick out of the University of Toledo rushed for 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns. Hunt also proved his worth as a pass-catcher when he tallied 53 receptions, 455 receiving yards and an additional three scores for the Chiefs scoring attack.
The 5 foot 11, 216 pound Hunt joined the Browns back in 2019 and immediately settled into a role as a complementary alternative for the sensational Nick Chubb. In 49 appearances for Cleveland (nine starts), the Ohio native totaled 2,847 yards from scrimmage and 23 total touchdowns. Combine that with the monster numbers that Conner has amassed during his two campaigns with the Cards (2,209 yards from scrimmage, 26 scores), and you suddenly have one heck of a one-two punch at running back in the desert.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)