The Cardinals running back competition might not be much of a competition after all. Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com writes that the “battle at running back might be a battle in name only,” with Chase Edmonds expected to earn the starting gig.
Edmonds, a 2018 fourth-round pick out of Fordham, had a career season in 2020, finishing with 850 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns. However, he mostly platooned with Kenyan Drake, and while the veteran may have left Arizona this past offseason, the team still replaced him with former Steelers starter James Conner.
However, Conner dealt with a long list of injuries during his stint with Pittsburgh, and sources tell Beasley that the free agent addition was already banged up at the beginning of minicamp. While it was assumed that Conner would be replacing Drake, his injury concerns could result in him serving primarily as a backup in 2021. Plus, as Beasley notes, the organization’s decision to pass on a running back during this year’s draft (coupled with Conner’s low salary) is a strong indication that they’re committed to Edmonds as their starter.
Really, the competition in the Cardinals running back room will come toward the end of the depth chart. Behind Edmonds and Conner, the likes of Jonathan Ward, Eno Benjamin, Tavien Feaster, and Khalfani Muhammad are competing for only a couple of roster spots.