David Johnson, Calais Campbell land on PFF’s 2016 All-Pro Team
Jan 4, 2017, 11:12 AM | Updated: 2:53 pm
In their entirety, the 2016 Arizona Cardinals were a disappointment.
Preseason Super Bowl favorites, they stumbled right out of the gates and never truly regained their footing, finishing the season with a 7-8-1 record.
But while the team itself did not have a great year, a handful of players on the roster did.
And according to the analytics people over at ProFootballFocus.com, two Cardinals are worthy of All-Pro Team status: running back David Johnson and defensive lineman Calais Campbell.
Johnson, the second-year running back, was named to the first team at the “Flex” position.
The ultimate flex player, David Johnson was a machine for the Cardinals this season when it came to yards from scrimmage, falling short in his quest to top 100 yards from scrimmage in every game of the season only due to injury in the final week. Johnson recorded over 1,200 rushing yards and notched 16 scores on the ground, but added 80 receptions, 879 receiving yards, and four more trips to pay-dirt as a receiver. The running back debate was fierce, and Johnson was firmly in the mix there, too.
Johnsons statistics are well known, as is the fact that he put together one of the best seasons you will ever see from a running back. In fact, had the Cardinals posted a better record, there is a good chance the 2015 third-round pick would have been in the conversation to be the league MVP.
While Johnson was great, his head coach believes the running back can be even better next season.
“Sky is the limit,” Bruce Arians siad. “I mean, 200-yard games every week. I’m serious. He’s capable.”
That may seem like a lofty goal — and perhaps a bit of hyperbole — but Johnson himself said he likes hearing that talk from his coach.
“He’s the one that has given me the opportunity, he’s the one that is teaching me the plays and what he is looking for and what Carson (Palmer) is looking for,” Johnson said. “So to hear that, hopefully I do have the opportunity to do that.”
Johnson, whose sprained MCL will sideline him for about two months, will be back with the team next season looking to build off his impressive 2016. The other Cardinal on PFF’s All-Pro team, Campbell, is a free agent and may not be.
But if this was it for Campbell in Arizona, he went out with a bang. He joined Los Angeles’ Aaron Donald on the first team for “Interior defenders,” while Miami’s Ndamukong Suh and the Giants’ Damon Harrison landed on the second team.
Aaron Donald’s season was somehow quietly dominant. He posted 82 total QB pressures, a figure bettered by only three players in the entire league, despite playing inside and not on the edge, where pressure comes easier. He was a constant disruptive force against the run, as well, with his quickness and ability to penetrate into the backfield. Arizona’s Calais Campbell put together the best season of his career, despite the Cardinals failing to live up to their standards of a year ago. Ndamukong Suh was again excellent for Miami on the second team, while Damon Harrison’s performance in the run game is the stuff of legend. He posted 10 more run stops than any other defensive tackle; only six of his peers came within half of his total of 49.
Campbell, 30, finished with 53 tackles and eight sacks, which was his most sacks since posting 9 in 2013. Prior to the team’s Week 17 win over the Rams, defensive coordinator James Bettcher talked about how Campbell was playing as well as any defensive lineman in football over the second half of the season.
That idea was reaffirmed by Arians the day after the season ended.
“I thought it was very solid, one of his better ones, especially the last half of the season,” the coach said. “I thought he really benefited from Chandler (Jones) and Markus (Golden).”
Campbell has said he would prefer to stay in Arizona, but understands the business of the NFL and is unsure of what his future holds.