Posted on July 20, 2017, by Travis Pulver
When you are a third-round pick in the draft, there are expectations people are going to have for you. They may not be too intense or require you to do too much too soon, but third round picks are generally expected to develop into solid players. Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson has clearly surpassed whatever expectations people had for him.
But fans shouldn’t worry too much about him potentially regressing in his third season. He is not looking to rest on his laurels and just have a good season this year. He wants to have a historic one.
Johnson is aiming to join an exclusive club that currently only has two members, Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig. He wants to be the third running back in NFL history to tally 1000+ yards rushing and receiving in the same season.
“I was so close last year, man, that it’s my No. 1 goal, to get that 1,000 and 1,000,” Johnson said. Last season he rushed for 1,239 yards but fell 121 yards short of the mark in receiving yards.
His production from last season and his goal for the coming year will make him the No. 1 pick in most fantasy football drafts this season for sure. After leading the NFL with 373 touches (carries and receptions), 2,118 total yards, and 20 touchdowns, he would have been a top three pick for sure.
Factor in his health, Le’Veon Bell’s health and possible holdout, and Ezekiel Elliot’s potential suspension and he’s practically a lock to be the No. 1 pick in any and every draft. Unlike most NFL players, his value and importance to fantasy players is not lost on him. Instead, he embraces it and looks at it as a chance to cultivate a larger fan base.
“It’s all about fantasy. All about doing what I can for these fantasy owners, and everywhere I go, that’s all I hear…” Johnson said (ESPN). “It’s a new thing for me. I never did fantasy, was never big into it. Kind of got forced into it, but it’s a cool thing because I can get more fans and different types of fans.”
If Bruce Arians does what he said he wants to do with Johnson, there is an excellent chance Johnson will enter that club by the end of the season. During the offseason, Arians talked about his star running back getting 30 touches a game.
Last season he averaged a little over 23 touches a game. So, should he get 30 a game, that’s an additional 107 touches over the course of the season. That’s a lot of work for one player, but Arians is not concerned about overusing his young quarterback.
An argument can certainly be made for getting the most out of a young player while you can—especially when he’s playing under his rookie contract. But should he accomplish the feat, he’ll have a pretty good argument for an astronomical pay raise in his next contract.