Cardinals’ running back group ranked top 10 heading into 2016

May 23, 2016, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:04 am
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson during OTAs. (Photo by Adam Green)...
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson during OTAs. (Photo by Adam Green)
(Photo by Adam Green)

The emergence of David Johnson revolutionized the Arizona Cardinals’ offense last season.

Johnson stepped up big after Chris Johnson went down in Week 12 with a broken tibia, as the rookie rushed for 99 yards and caught a touchdown pass against the then-St. Louis Rams in his first start the following week.

Johnson exploded onto the scene two weeks later in Philadelphia, amassing 187 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while catching four passes for 42 yards.

His performance at the end of last season, coupled with Chris Johnson returning and Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams being key reserves, has the Cardinals’ running back group ranked No. 10 in the NFL according to Bleacher Report’s Russell S. Baxter.

In 2015, the Arizona Cardinals ground attack was brought to you by Johnson and Johnson.

Thanks primarily to this duo, the Cardinals finished eighth in the NFL in rushing, one year after ranking next-to-last in the league in the same category. Reserves Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor have starting experience, and Kerwynn Williams has shown his ability when called upon. This group gives head coach Bruce Arians numerous options.

Being able to effectively run the ball in the playoffs and have a multi-dimensional offense will play a large factor in the team’s Super Bowl aspirations. Taking pressure off quarterback Carson Palmer will be huge next season.

The teams whose running back groups are ranked ahead of the Cardinals are the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters (98) walks out before an NFL game between the Arizo...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Doug Kyed advises Arizona Cardinals to bring back DL Corey Peters

With the Cardinals' current roster construction, PFF's Doug Kyed believes Arizona should bring DL Corey Peters back once more in 2022.
1 day ago
Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (77) protects his quarterback during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Cardinals take OT Paris Johnson Jr. in ESPN 2023 NFL mock draft

ESPN's Matt Miller thinks the Cardinals will beef up the offensive line in his first 2023 mock by selecting Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrate after an NFL foo...
Wills Rice

NFL.com’s Patra ranks Cardinals’ cornerbacks among weakest rooms in league

The Cardinals enter training camp with a few question marks personnel-wise on the defensive side of the ball, especially at cornerback.
4 days ago
Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a recep...
Sam Graveline

PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals head into training camp expecting to have healthy competition at a handful of positions, including at tight end.
5 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after beating the Houston Texans 31-5...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals Corner: The timeframe of Kyler Murray’s contract extension

We haven't heard much lately when it comes down to Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and a contract extension. When will a new deal get done?
5 days ago
Markus Golden #44 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts to a defensive play during the first half against...
Nikash Nath

Cardinals LB Markus Golden among players with best team-friendly deals

Arizona Cardinals LB Markus Golden's contract cracked PFF analyst Brad Spielberger's top team-friendly deals ranking.
5 days ago
Cardinals’ running back group ranked top 10 heading into 2016