ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals running back unit ranked 16th in PFF rankings

Jun 23, 2024, 10:30 AM

James Conner runs the rock...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals running back corps helped define the team’s identity in 2023, especially toward the end of head coach Jonathan Gannon’s first year as head coach.

According to Pro Football Focus‘ running back unit rankings, they might have more eyes to open. PFF ranked the Cardinals’ running back group for 2024 as the No. 16 collective in the 32-team league.

During the 2023 regular season, the Cardinals ranked fourth in rushing yards with 2,365 yards and ninth in rushing touchdowns with 17.

Running back James Conner led the way with 1,040 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns despite missing four games due to injury. He’s back to lead the group again.

James Conner had a career year in 2023. He earned an 88.4 rushing grade, tallied 1,040 yards and 31 explosive runs, and averaged 0.29 missed tackles forced per attempt and 5.0 yards per carry.

The Cardinals also added the talented Trey Benson in the draft, so if Conner repeats his 2023 efficiency with Benson now the RB2, they will be in the top half of a lot of rushing statistics.

In two seasons with the Seminoles, Benson rushed for 1,896 yards to go with 23 touchdowns after transferring from Oregon.

Michael Carter, who flashed a 6.8-yard-per-carry average in 22 touches after being a waiver-wire pickup, could also earn reps. Arizona’s roster additionally returns second-year pro Emari Demercado and veterans DeeJay Dallas and Tony Jones, who could each fight for a roster spot in training camp.

Rounding out the top five in PFF’s running back rankings are the San Francisco 49ers at No. 1, followed by the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons.

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Cardinals running back unit ranked 16th in PFF rankings