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Draft Primer 2014: Running Backs

With Ellington emerging and Dwyer, Taylor, Williams in place, need isn't great


Oregon speedster D'Anthony Thomas could be a game-breaker found later in the draft.

The NFL draft will be held from May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Cardinals addressed several needs in free agency and are now zeroing in on their draft targets. We'll take a look at each position over the next few weeks.

More draft analysis: S I OL I LB I TE I ST I DL I WR

Draft primer: Running back

Cardinals under contract: Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor, Ryan Williams, Jonathan Dwyer.

Prospects by projected draft round:

First: None.

Second: Tre Mason, Auburn; Carlos Hyde, Ohio State; Bishop Sankey, Washington.

Third/fourth: Jeremy Hill, LSU; Andre Williams, Boston College; Terrance West, Towson; Lache Seastrunk, Baylor; Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona; Devonta Freeman, Florida State; Charles Sims, West Virginia.

Fifth or later: Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern; James White, Wisconsin; Storm Johnson, Central Florida; Tyler Gaffney, Stanford; Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State; Rajion Neal, Tennessee; DeAnthony Thomas, Oregon; Lorenzo Taliaferro, Coastal Carolina; Senorise Perry, Louisville; Marion Grice, Arizona State.

Analysis: The talent pool at running back is shallow this year, but the Cardinals don't have a big need at the position with Andre Ellington looking like a star-in-waiting. While there are questions about Ellington's ability to handle a heavy workload, the staff seems to believe in Stepfan Taylor and Jonathan Dwyer as adequate backups. Ryan Williams is a wild card who could also enter the mix.

Tre Mason is the top-rated running back, although a tailback is not expected to be chosen in the first round for the second consecutive year. Carlos Hyde and Bishop Sankey are also projected as second-round picks. Ka'Deem Carey is a between-the-tackles runner whose stock has dropped because of a slow 40-yard-dash time, and he is now expected to get selected in the middle rounds. DeAnthony Thomas is a versatile weapon who could be had in the second half of the draft, while injuries have burdened Marion Grice, who will now likely be drafted late or not at all.

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