Dalton Del Don says not so fast … To be clear, with Le’Veon Bell likely to hold out (and injury prone) and Ezekiel Elliott looking at a suspension with many off-field problems, Johnson is clearly the No. 1 overall pick this year. And it’s not even close. However, this feat is historically tough, as only two other running backs have ever accomplished a 1,000/1,000 season (Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig) in NFL history. The odds are simply stacked against Johnson, no matter how special of a talent he is.
Johnson would obviously have to stay fully healthy, as even a single game missed would make this feat nearly impossible. Moreover, he fell more than 120 yards shy of 1,000 receiving last year despite seeing a whopping 120 targets (no other back in the league even reached 95). If any back in recent memory can do it, it’s Johnson, but make no mistake, it’s a huge long shot, although I’ll certainly be rooting for him.
Brad Evans is sipping the Cardinal’s Kool-Aid … The parallels between David Johnson and NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk are uncanny. Much like his predecessor, the third-year rusher is a marvelous blend of power, wiggle, versatility and dependability. His breakthrough 2016 (1,239 rush yds, 80 receptions, 879 receiving yards, 20 TDs) was merely an opening act. Under the hood, he ranked No. 2 in yards after contact, No. 2 in total evaded tackles and No. 8 in breakaway percentage last year. Simply, he’s a superhero fit for a Marvel movie. In his second full season as Arizona’s workhorse, Johnson, whose athletic metrics compare to another HOFer, Ladainian Tomlinson, is about to up the ante.
Bruce Arians’ audacious declaration Johnson may be leaned on 30 times per game isn’t conjecture. The head coach, quite possibly the straightest shooter in the league, knows his RB needs to be the offensive centerpiece in order to consistently move the chains and keep Carson Palmer upright. The dreamboat’s 80.0 percent opportunity share (23.3 touches per game) will undoubtedly ramp up. Toss in Arizona’s offensive line returns most of it’s No. 7 ranked run-blocking unit from 2016 (Per Football Outsiders) and a 1,000/1,000 season is entirely believable. Don’t draft him No. 1 overall in fantasy leagues this year and I question your sanity.