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Arizona Cardinals

Updated May 18, 2017 - 7:05 pm

NFL.com: Cardinals’ T.J. Logan a late-round rookie who will exceed expectations

Cardinals RB T.J. Logan waits during an OTA practice May 16. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

The Cardinals selected running back T.J. Logan in the fifth round in large part to help with their special teams, which last season struggled in the return game.

In 2016, with a combination of returners led by Andre Ellington and Brittan Golden, the Cardinals averaged 21.8 yards per return. That number ranked 16th in the NFL, while Arizona’s 544 total return yards on 25 attempts ranked 24th.

That’s where Logan comes in.

He returned kicks all four seasons at North Carolina, and in his senior season, his 32.9 yard return average led FCS.

Although Logan is not huge at just 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, he has speed.

That speed was showcased at the NFL Scouting Combine, as he topped all other running backs in the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.37 seconds.

This is why Lance Zierlein of NFL.com puts Logan as one of his five late-round draft picks likely to exceed expectations in 2017.

Logan is not only a talented running back, but he’s also a “play-now” return man who should have a very good shot of finding field time for the Cardinals on special teams. Logan has outstanding hands out of the backfield and is a very willing blocker. Logan possesses many of the qualities that the Cardinals saw in Andre Ellington when they selected him in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Logan in Ellington’s role sooner rather than later.

With Ellington moving to wide receiver and the re-signing of Chris Johnson unlikely, the Cardinals lack experienced depth in the run game.

Besides starter David Johnson, Kerwynn Williams is the only running back on the roster with an NFL carry, leaving the door open for Logan to find some offensive snaps.

Logan’s chances for a larger role could increase because, like Johnson, Logan excels as a runner and receiver, having rushed for 2,165 yards and 19 touchdowns on 398 carries and catching 76 passes for 663 yards and four touchdowns as a Tar Heel.

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