Arizona Cardinals Position Battles: Andre Ellington Impressing Bruce Arians, Could Make Roster

By Ryan Heckman
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals enter the 2013 NFL season with much more hope than they had when the 2012 campaign ended. The offense was downright embarrassing. The defense had been solid for the most part but kept getting overshadowed with how disgusting the team was to watch with the ball.

Bringing in former Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer will hopefully change things in a big way. Let’s put it in simpler terms: There’s no possible way Palmer could be as bad as Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton were.

One of the things Arizona wanted to address this offseason was the running back position. They brought in former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall and also used two of their draft picks on tailbacks as well. In the fifth round, the Cardinals grabbed Stepfan Taylor out of Stanford. The very next round saw Arizona select Clemson running back Andre Ellington.

Ellington, specifically, is competing for a roster spot at the highest of levels and doing so successfully. After missing out on the first preseason action of the year due to a minor concussion, Ellington returned to face the Dallas Cowboys in their second preseason game. From the get-go, Ellington made an impact.

He showed a couple of flashes right away, dashing for a 24-yard run on his second carry of the game and followed that up by hauling in a 12-yard catch later that drive.

“Pressure either bursts pipes or it makes diamonds,” Ellington said according to AZCentral, “and so far it’s making a diamond out of me.”

Head coach Bruce Arians is happy to see such fierce competition at the position and seems to like Ellington’s quick development.

“I thought he looked fantastic,” Arians said. “Just like the kid he’s been in practice. Explosive, whether it’s run or pass, he gives us speed and a change-of-direction element to our backfield. He runs with power and he pass-blocked pretty well. Andre made a good showing for himself.”

At this point, many believe Ellington has a legitimate shot to make the final roster. He still has to convincingly beat out the likes of Taylor, but regardless I think he should have a spot on the practice squad when it’s all said and done. The Cardinals need as many playmakers on that side of the ball as they can get, and Ellington is showing the desire to be one of them.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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