Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
With Beanie Wells cut from the roster and Rashard Mendenhall in his place, the team has effectively moved from one knee-injury issue to another.
Wells dealt with the injury—the severity of which was never fully disclosed—over his final two seasons in the Valley.
It wasn’t much of a problem for him in 2011, as he rushed for a career-high 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns as the primary back for Arizona.
Last season was a vastly different story.
He couldn’t stay on the field, and even when he did, he had trouble finding holes and playing consistently enough to make an impact.
He carried 88 times for only 234 yards (2.66 yards per carry) and scored five touchdowns—all scores coming in just two games.
Mendenhall tore the ACL in his right knee during 2011’s regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns.
Arians is thrilled to get back his former workhorse back from his days in Pittsburgh: “He’s a legitimate big-time threat every time he touches the ball. He’s a big back who never has to come out of the game. He has a 230-pound body with 180-pound feet.”
Mendenhall rushed for 182 yards on 51 carries (3.6 YPC) last season with no rushing touchdowns while sharing time with a multitude of running backs in Pittsburgh last year.
His three seasons as Arians’ primary back saw him average 1,103 rushing yards, 4.2 YPC, 9.33 rushing touchdowns and 264.67 carries per season. At just 25 years old, many believe he can return to those numbers as a full-time back.
If that's the case, great. But adding a back like former Rutgers Scarlet Knight Jawan Jamison or former UCLA Bruin Jonathan Franklin in the mid to late rounds is a good idea regardless.