Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Pre-Camp Grade: B
For now, Beanie Wells is the starter at running back. But if things keep going the way they did during the preseason, Ryan Williams may take over.
Williams carried the ball only eight times during two preseason games but looked great in doing so. He scored his first NFL touchdown while averaging 5.0 yards per carry, so it appears his knee is fully recovered after undergoing patellar tendon surgery as a rookie.
Wells—also recovered from a knee surgery—has never been an elusive back.
He has the speed to get to the edge and the power to be great in short-yardage situations, but unless he picks up where he left off last season, he may become the relief.
But that’s not to say Wells will have earned a demotion. Williams has simply been that impressive.
The running back situation Arizona finds itself in is far better than the one the quarterbacks just resolved. Having too many good backs on the depth chart is a good problem to have, and finding them on the field at the same time this season may be a good way to improve the team’s chances every week.
LaRod Stephens-Howling returns, though he battled an injury throughout the preseason and played in only two games.
William Powell was the talk of the preseason among Cardinals backups. He played so well and showed so much that he earned a spot on the 53-man roster. He may not get much playing time on offense, but names can be made elsewhere—like on special teams.
Anthony Sherman will be responsible for a lot of the backs' production this year. He is one of only a few true fullbacks left in the league, and much of Wells’ and Williams’ success will be because of the holes he opens.