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NFL.com panelists pick David Johnson as midseason Offensive Player of the Year

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs from San Francisco 49ers linebacker Nick Bellore, middle, and defensive end Taylor Hart (96) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The Arizona Cardinals came into this season as strong Super Bowl contenders. This year has proved disappointing for many as they sit at 3-4-1, but that hasn’t slowed down running back David Johnson.

Heading into Week 9, Johnson has rushed for 705 yards while adding another 407 yards as a receiver. The second-year back accumulated 1,112 yards from scrimmage, most in the league, and tallied eight touchdowns, which already ties the total he had his rookie season.

Johnson’s effort hasn’t gone unnoticed, as four out of fifteen NFL.com analysts have Johnson winning the Offensive Player of the Year Award for his stellar performance.

Maurice Jones-Drew: David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals. He is having an unbelievable season with 1,100-plus yards from scrimmage through eight games.

David Carr: Johnson. The Cardinals’ offense used to revolve around Larry Fitzgerald, but we’ve seen that change this year. Johnson is so valuable to this team.

Marcas Grant: Johnson. There was an extreme amount of offseason hype for Johnson … and he might be exceeding it while almost singlehandedly keeping the Cardinals’ offense afloat.

Alex Gelhar: Johnson. It’s hard to envision the Cardinals winning a game at this point if they didn’t have Johnson, who’s looking like the best back in football.

How important has Johnson been? He is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the Cardinals’ total yards this season, with an offense that should be flourishing through the air.

Sunday’s loss against the Carolina Panthers showed just how versatile he is as a rusher and receiver, as Johnson accumulated 84 yards alone from the air, which was more than any receiver on either team.

As teams are still struggling to figure out how to contain him, the 86th overall pick from Northern Iowa in 2015 is having a blast leaving defenders in the dust with his elite athleticism.

Other players receiving votes were the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot, the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders.

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