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Cardinals Position Overview 2024: Running Back

Benson has opportunity to earn valuable reps as rookie

RB Overview 16x9

Now that the Cardinals offseason work has concluded, the players are out of the facility. Many have stated that these next few weeks aren't time off from football, but time away from the facility, hoping players remain locked in and prepared to report to Glendale for training camp on July 23. In the meantime, azcardinals.com will take a look and evaluate each position group prior to camp.

Next up, running back.

James Conner is coming off of his first 1,000-yard rushing season, but the running back coach Jonathan Gannon called "the blueprint" isn't satisfied. The 29-year-old downhill threat said that his 1,040-yard stat line from 2023 is "the floor, not the ceiling." It's fair for Conner to have that mentality, especially going into a contract season. With the offensive lines' goal of helping the ball carrier earn more yards before first contact, Conner is slated to have another big season in Drew Petzing's run-first offense.

When watching Trey Benson's collegiate film, there's a lot of similarities between him and the aforementioned Conner. Both are 6-foot-1 running backs who don't shy away from contact and have explosive, home run ability on the ground. When Conner is on the sidelines, Benson has the skill set to jump into the huddle without the offense skipping a beat. The second running back off the board in the 2024 draft, the Cardinals selected one of the top prospects at the position. He'll be an impact player early on in his NFL career.

When Conner was placed on the injured reserve list in 2023, the Cardinals rotated through multiple running backs in his absence. Emari Demercado stood out as a dominant pass blocker, and Michael Carter, a mid-season acquisition, also shined bright on the field. While DeeJay Dallas is believed to play in more of a special teams capacity, it'll be fascinating to see between Carter, Demercado, Dallas, and potentially Jones, who will be given a jersey on game day. Carter's emergence towards the latter half of 2023 could give him the edge.

UPGRADE ODDS: Low

The competition for RB2 and RB3 is one of the more underrated battles heading into training camp. By drafting Benson and with the free agency addition of Dallas, the Cardinals already have reinforcements in the running back room.

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