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David Johnson, Cardinals running backs ranked as third best in the NFL

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs for a touchdown as Washington Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller (38) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Throughout the history of the Cardinals in Arizona, one thing they have not been known for is a great running game. Edgerrin James, who only played for the Cardinals from 2006-08, leads the franchise — since it’s been in Arizona — in rushing yards with 2,895.

David Johnson may very soon be changing that record, but in the meantime he has changed the perception of Cardinals running backs.

Last season, the former third-round pick ran for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns while adding another 879 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

Johnson’s numbers are in part why when ranking NFL running backs by team, Nate Davis of USA Today Sports put the Cardinals at No. 3.

Only a Week 17 injury prevented David Johnson from becoming the first player to have 100 yards from scrimmage in all 16 regular-season games. Now he’s set his sights on becoming the third player to have both 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same year. Don’t bet against him … but don’t bet on the Cards if gets hurt.

This ranking speaks volumes about Johnson’s production, because as Davis is ranking teams’ running back units, the 2016 All-Pro is essentially the Cardinals entire unit.

Four other running backs got a carry for Arizona last season, but the closest to Johnson’s yardage total was Kerwynn Williams with 157 yards, 1,082 behind Johnson.

Those numbers may increase next season as head coach Bruce Arians has dubbed Johnson “the focal point” of the offense and wants to see him get 30 or more touches a game.

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