News: The Cardinals official team website reports that the running back battle for the starting job between Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams and rookies Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington could be wide open. You really cant tell until the lights come on, coach Bruce Arians said. ... Until you turn the lights on, you really dont know about them. Mendenhall had his best years under Arians in Pittsburgh and now that hes had so much time to recover from his knee issues plus his one-year-need-to-prove-it contract he could be primed for a rebound season. Williams seems certain he will be effective this year, after never being certain in his knee early last season before suffering his shoulder problem. If both come through, Taylor and Ellington wont be needed. Even if they are, they have to show they are ready.
Analysis: We envision Ellington as a key reserve for the Cardinals this year behind Mendenhall and Williams, but clearly both of those guys have had trouble staying healthy. An injury could force Taylor or Ellington into action, and he's worth keeping an eye on. Don't draft Ellington in most standard leagues, but he's worth at least a second-round pick in rookie-only formats. Unless, of course, he surprises us and wins the starting job, which would make him a mid-round pick in all standard formats.
News: The Cardinals have added a second running back in the draft, selecting Clemson's Andre Ellington in the sixth round. Arizona used its fifth-round pick on Stanford's Stepfan Taylor and followed up by getting Ellington with the 187th overall pick. The 5-foot-9, 199-pound Ellington was first-team All-ACC after finishing with 1,081 yards rushing, 232 more receiving and nine total touchdowns. Though undersized, he has good quickness and speed, and has shown an ability to run inside. "Andre brings a different style to the table," general manager Steve Keim said. "His play style is different than the other three backs on our roster."
Analysis: With the selection of two running backs, the Cardinals are now stacked with Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams. Coach Bruce Arians is not a fan of tandems, so look for one running back to emerge and potentially get the majority of work. The early thought is Mendenhall, but Ellington could also win the battle. He could be worth a late-round flier in seasonal leagues, and he is worth a mid-round pick in rookie-only formats.