ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals’ Chase Edmonds near bottom of PFF’s RB rankings, ahead of Drake

May 26, 2021, 8:10 AM
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (29) runs the ball as Miami Dolphins defensive end Sha...

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (29) runs the ball as Miami Dolphins defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Projected Arizona Cardinals starter Chase Edmonds may be near the bottom of Pro Football Focus’ recent ranking of starting running backs, but he is ahead of the back who started ahead of him for much of the last two seasons.

Edmonds came in at No. 30 on PFF’s ranking of running backs going into the 2021 season. One spot under him is now-Las Vegas Raiders RB Kenyan Drake, who will play a secondary role to Raiders starter Josh Jacobs this season.

Edmonds has been struggling for opportunities in Arizona but outperformed Kenyan Drake whenever he got the chance to. Edmonds was primarily used as the team’s receiving back, generating a passer rating of 112.9 when targeted, but he also averaged more per carry and more after contact per carry than Drake.

Edmonds recorded 448 rushing yards on 97 carries and 402 receiving yards on 53 catches last season.

This year, Edmonds is joined in the backfield by James Conner after the Cardinals signed the former Pittsburgh Steeler to a one-year deal this offseason. In 2020 (13 games), Conner recorded 721 yards and six touchdowns on 169 carries.

They’re a part of a running back room that includes Jonathan Ward and former Arizona State Sun Devil Eno Benjamin.

Drake played 23 games for the Cardinals after they acquired the running back from the Miami Dolphins in a midseason trade in 2019.

Last season, Drake rushed for 955 yards on 239 carries to go with 137 receiving yards on 25 receptions. Drake reached 80 rushing yards in just four of 15 games he appeared in that season.

For whatever reason, the offense in Arizona just wasn’t playing to Kenyan Drake’s strengths, even when he was healthy. A player who thrives in space was struggling to find any, averaging just 4.0 yards per carry, with 2.5 of it coming after contact. Drake still has game-breaking speed and ability but needs a better blocking situation in front of him.

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