Cardinals positional needs and review: Running back

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Jess Root
·3 min read
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The Arizona Cardinals are in the offseason and are evaluating what to do to improve and address the roster in 2021.

Over the next several days, we will look at each position group, how it did in 2020, who is on the roster moving forward and what the Cardinals need at the position moving forward.

We have looked at the quarterback position already. We move on to running back.


2020 season

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After a dynamic second half to the 2019 season, Kenyan Drake followed it up with a career high in rushing yards and touchdowns. He averaged 4.0 yards per attempt for 955 yards and 10 scores. He added 137 receiving yards on 25 catches. He had what you could call a pretty all right season. He wasn't always productive but he was what the team needed in most games. He finished games really well. When he rushed for 60 or more yards, the team went 6-2. Chase Edmonds was a solid player in 2020. He rushed for 448 yards and added 53 catches for 402 yards and four touchdowns. He had 850 total yards from scrimmage, which is pretty great from a No. 2 running back. He was third on the team in receptions. D.J. Foster got his first offensive snaps in three years but played almost exclusively on special teams. Jonathan Ward was an undrafted rookie who also played special teams. He had one touch on offense all season and scored the team's only touchdown in the season-ending loss to the L.A. Rams. Eno Benjamin, a seventh-round draft pick, was inactive all 16 games.

Roster outlook

Michael Chow-Arizona Republic

Drake: Unrestricted free agent Edmonds: Signed through 2021, $1.03 million cap hit next season Foster: Unrestricted free agent Ward: Signed through 2022, $780,000 cap hit next season Eno Benjamin: signed through 2023, $805,679 cap hit in 2021 Khalfani Muhammad: signed to futures contract for 2021, $660,000 cap hit

2021 offseason needs

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Offseason need: Moderately high

If Drake leaves in free agency and the Cardinals are comfortable with Edmonds as the lead guy, then they will be okay, especially if Benjamin or Ward can slide into the role Edmonds had in 2020. However, we should expect the Cardinals to either re-sign Drake or add a starting-caliber back. It could be someone to fill Drake's role or be someone to share the load with Edmonds as the lead back. They could also draft a running back. Foster's role could be filled by Ward or Foster could be re-signed as a core special teams player. But considering the importance of the running game in the Cardinals' offense the least two seasons, they need to have two backs who can be solid in a No. 1 role. Listen to the latest from Cards Wire's Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Latest show:

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