With July here and training camp scheduled to start soon, azcardinals.com will take a look at the Cardinals' individual position groups during this quiet time in the NFL and give our opinions about where the groups stand prior to camp. Today, running back.
LOCKS: Chase Edmonds, James Conner
It's not clear how the running back touches will be distributed in 2021, but it is obvious that Edmonds and Conner will be the players handling the bulk of the load. This is a big season for Edmonds, who said it is "now or never" to prove he can be a starting running back in the NFL. He was impressive last year, but has never been the featured back at the NFL level. Conner is the big-back complement but needs to stay healthy after dealing with injuries in recent seasons.
WORK TO DO: Jonathan Ward, Eno Benjamin, Tavien Feaster, Khalfani Muhammad
There aren't any proven commodities behind Edmonds and Conner. Ward only had one touch last season, although it did go for an 11-yard touchdown. Benjamin was the team's seventh-round pick out of Arizona State in 2020 but was a healthy scratch for every game as a rookie. This is an important training camp for both Ward and Benjamin as they angle for the No. 3 running back spot. Ward moved ahead of Benjamin on the depth chart last season because of his special teams ability, so Benjamin must make a mark in that area. Feaster and Muhammad are not as well known but a strong camp could put them on the radar.
UPGRADE ODDS: Medium
D.J. Foster was the Cardinals' veteran reserve at the position last season, as he contributed on special teams and filled in offensively in a pinch. He recently joined the CFL, and there is no such player on the roster heading into camp. If Ward or Benjamin don't seize spots on the roster, GM Steve Keim could look for a battle-tested and versatile running back to lock down a backup role behind Edmonds and Conner. There is a lot of uncertainty at running back heading into 2021, so there could be some movement here.