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What does drafting Ryan Williams mean for Cards running backs?

The Arizona Cardinals surprised fans and the NFL by selecting running back Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech with their second-round pick. It should serve as a notice to the two running backs, Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, on their roster. One of them is likely on their way out.

NFL.com describes Williams as a high energy guy who is patient and has great vision. They list not holding the ball close to his body as one of his weaknesses. His 30 touchdowns and 2,132 yards in college are impressive.

While the pick came as a shock to everyone expecting the Cards to go defense again with their second pick, from all accounts Williams could turn out to be quite the value pick. The problem is it leaves quite the logjam at running back.

If rumors are true Jason Wright may be retiring this offseason but that still leaves them with restricted free agent Tim Hightower and 2009 first round draft pick Beanie Wells on the depth chart. There doesn’t seem to be any way that they’d carry all three on their roster when the season starts.

The question becomes, do they let Hightower sign elsewhere without matching the offer or do they try and trade the former Ohio State standout Wells?

Hightower’s propensity to fumble the football could mean his days are number in Arizona. He’s put the ball on the ground nine times over the last two seasons and lost eight of them. The problem is his game is a better suits playing along side Williams.

So that leaves trading Wells. You have to wonder if he might like to return home to Ohio and if the Cards could use him as trade bait for a certain disgruntled quarterback. With the Bengals selecting Andy Dalton a few picks before Williams, Carson Palmer may be available for the right price. Maybe Beanie could be part of that price.

Sure, it’s all pure speculation and nothing can happen until the lockout is officially over but you have to wonder if the Cardinals have a plan at running back or if they just felt Williams was the best player available at No. 38.