Cardinals get their speed in North Carolina RB T.J. Logan
TEMPE, Ariz. — There are certain traits coaches look for.
When it comes to Bruce Arians, speed is at the top of the list.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Arizona spent its second fifth-round pick, No. 179 overall, on North Carolina running back T.J. Logan.
Logan, after all, posted the fastest 40-yard dash time at the Combine for a running back at 4.37 seconds, and the sixth-fastest time of all players.
“T.J. Logan was a guy that we had focused, and Coach and I had talked about, since the Combine,” Cardinals GM Steve Keim said. “Not only did his foot speed and his explosiveness excite us, but the things that he can do in our offense — where we ask our backs out of the backfield to catch the football — when you watch tape of T.J., he really jumps out at you with the flare routes and some of the different things he does in space.”
A 5-foot-9, 196-pound back, the initial comparison for Logan in Arizona is Andre Ellington.
“His explosiveness — been looking for back who can do some of the things that David (Johnson) does,” Arians said. “He’s more of an Andre Ellington than David, (but) moving Andre out to wideout will give him a chance to be, obviously, the kick returner, and that back who is explosive.”
So, maybe, an even faster LaRod Stephens-Howling.
“I pride myself on being able to run by guys,” Logan said. “I feel like if he’s not as fast as me, I’ll try and leave him in the dust. That’s the big thing.”
Last year, as a senior, Logan he ran for 675 yards and seven touchdowns on 120 carries while adding 244 yards and three scores on 29 catches. He also averaged 33 yards on 21 kick returns, two of which he took back for touchdowns.
In four seasons with the Tar Heels, he amassed 2,165 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground, 663 yards and four touchdowns through the air and five total return scores.
With the Cardinals, he is likely to see most of his action on special teams, though he sees himself as more than just a specialist.
“I feel like if I’m out there on the field I can make guys miss, I can make big runs, I can finish runs,” he said. “I’m looking for the home run; I’m not just going to be satisfied with running out of bounds or nothing like that.”
An experienced kick returner, Logan said he has practiced returning punts but never did it in a game because the team already had someone at that spot.
“Kick return was just my thing, it was just something I just had a knack for, so I guess they just kept me there,” he said.
Last season, the Cardinals ranked 16th in the NFL, averaging 21.8 yards on 25 kickoff returns. They were even worse when it came to punts, finishing 30th in the league.
Suffice to say, Logan should have a chance to contribute right away.
“Any way I can help, rather if that’s kick returning, catching punts, being on kickoff team — it doesn’t matter,” Logan said. “I just want to contribute.”