ARIZONA CARDINALS

Yahoo! Sports’ Nate Tice is ‘very bullish’ on the Arizona Cardinals

Jun 1, 2024, 7:26 PM | Updated: 7:39 pm

MARCH 02: Trey Benson #RB04 of Florida State participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Luca...

MARCH 02: Trey Benson #RB04 of Florida State participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 02, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

It can be hard to find positives in a four-win season, but the Arizona Cardinals’ power run game was a bright spot last year and it’s only improved this offseason.

The Cardinals led the NFL in explosive rushing rate and were seventh in expected points added (EPA) per rush last year, according to RBSDM.

Since then, the Cardinals added to that strength by drafting Trey Benson, Tip Reiman and Isaiah Adams (all in the third round) as part of their impressive offseason.

Those three picks factor into Yahoo! Sports’ Nate Tice being “very bullish” on the Cardinals. He didn’t guarantee a playoff appearance, but he said they’d be a “very frisky team with a very frisky offense and defense.”

“I’m watching all these guys get wide open … Then Kyler comes back, you could tell he’s a little rusty, but then you see Kyler playing the most calm I’ve ever seen him, which surprised me because I thought it’d be the opposite,” Tice said on the Yahoo Fantasy Football Show. “New offense, coming back from injury, (I thought) he’d be a lot more frantic. … The Eagles game was kind of their magnum opus of that first year of the regime, and in that game you saw it, they run a little bit of everything, they use the tight ends really well …  they invested more in their offensive line.

“Their Round 3 was literally their power run game. It was Trey Benson, Tip Reiman and Isaiah Adams. They just watched those runs, and then they’re like ‘Okay, we need to juice this up. Round 3, here we go.”

One of the downsides with Benson is the injury concerns he brings. In 2020 as an Oregon Duck, he tore his MCL, ACL, medial meniscus, lateral meniscus and hamstring at the same time. That serious injury could affect the longevity of his career even though he’s remained healthy the past couple of years.

In addition to Benson, Tice is also very high on Marvin Harrison Jr. and Paris Johnson Jr. and praised both of them.

“I’m betting on Harrison Jr. hitting the ground running … I’m very optimistic overall about this offense, but it starts with the run game, how well-coached the offensive line is. Paris Johnson Jr. looks like a star already, they invested further in the offensive line, and they made it look good last year with bad pieces,” Tice added.

Trey Benson ‘the perfect fantasy pick’

Matt Harmon also likes Benson as a fantasy football sleeper who could make some noise if James Conner misses time. Harmon suggested Benson has standalone value as a fantasy running back but if James Conner gets hurt, Benson has potential as an RB2 or a low-end RB1, “if he really gets going.”

“This is a really well designed offense and a lot of it comes back to the run game,” Harmon said. “And then they draft Trey Benson this year who I think is the perfect fantasy pick that you want to make.”

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Yahoo! Sports’ Nate Tice is ‘very bullish’ on the Arizona Cardinals