ARIZONA CARDINALS

Jones-Drew ranks Cardinals’ David Johnson third best RB in NFL

Jun 20, 2018, 12:52 PM

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson smiles as he gets ready to put on his football helmet ...

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson smiles as he gets ready to put on his football helmet during an NFL football training camp Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

After missing almost all of the 2017 season, David Johnson is still considered among the best running backs in the NFL.

Former NFL running back and current NFL.com analyst Maurice Jones-Drew ranked Johnson the third best running back in the NFL. Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers and Todd Gurley of the Rams were ranked first and second respectively.

Johnson should have fresh legs after suffering a season-ending wrist injury in Week 1 last season. Now healthy, he should push for his 2016 numbers (1,239 rushing, 879 receiving) and once again be a huge mismatch in the passing game. The Cardinals will need to lean on their versatile back with a new quarterback under center.

With a new coaching staff and offensive scheme under first-year offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Johnson is expected to be productive and healthy. His ability to be a force in the passing game as well as a three-down back makes him an invaluable fixture in the Cardinals offense.

The biggest thing Johnson has to prove in 2018 is that he can remain healthy. Having been injured in the last two regular season games he’s played, another major injury could put a permanent asterisk around his name.

Johnson skipped mandatory minicamp as he holds out for a new contract. Given his injuries, it seems like a smart move for Johnson to seek compensation for strong past performances. General Manager Steve Keim has stated he looks forward to rewarding Johnson with a new contact, so it’s likely just a matter of time before he will be paid.

Johnson is scheduled to make $1.88 million in 2018, as his rookie deal expires at season’s end.

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Jones-Drew ranks Cardinals’ David Johnson third best RB in NFL