Cardinals Duo Disrespected in RB Rankings

The Arizona Cardinals were nowhere to be found on Bleacher Report's list of top running back tandems.
Arizona Cardinals running backs James Conner (6) and Trey Benson (33) during organized team activities at the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center on May 28, 2024.
Arizona Cardinals running backs James Conner (6) and Trey Benson (33) during organized team activities at the Dignity Health Arizona Cardinals Training Center on May 28, 2024. / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY
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ARIZONA -- The Arizona Cardinals aren't expected to rank atop any position group lists, and quite frankly it's tough to argue that anything about Arizona is the best in the league before they can prove so in 2024.

Yet if there's anything positive to take away from the Cardinals' 4-13 campaign in 2023 - it's their ability to run the football.

Running back James Conner saw his first 1,000-yard season as a rusher in 2023. Arizona's 139.1 yards per game on the ground ranked fourth in the NFL, and that was with the Cardinals absent of Kyler Murray for half the season on top of them trailing most of the time on the scoreboard.

Conner returns and is eager to earn another paycheck on a contract year. Murray is back in the mix fully healthy and ready to leave his imprint on the offense, too.

Factor in an improved offensive line, another season in offensive coordinator Drew Petzing's system plus the addition of Florida State running back Trey Benson, and the Cardinals may very well have an improved attack that was already near tops of the league on the ground.

At least in the desert, it's an exciting proposition. The same can't be shared from a national media perspective, however.

Bleacher Report recently ranked the league's best running back tandems, and out of the 13 tandems spotted between the honorable mention list and the actual rankings (No. 8-1), the duo of Conner-Benson was nowhere to be found.

Top NFL RB Tandem Rankings

  1. Detroit Lions: David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs
  2. Miami Dolphins: Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane
  3. San Francisco 49ers: Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell
  4. Atlanta Falcons: Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier
  5. Baltimore Ravens: Derrick Henry and Justice Hill
  6. Philadelphia Eagles: Saquon Barkley and Kenneth Gainwell
  7. Los Angeles Rams: Kyren Williams and Blake Corum
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris

Honorable Mentions:

  • Washington Commanders: Brian Robinson Jr. and Austin Ekeler
  • Seattle Seahawks: Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet
  • Green Bay Packers: Josh Jacobs and MarShawn Lloyd
  • Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb and Jerome Ford
  • Chicago Bears: D'Andre Swift and Khalil Herbert

Arizona's rushing attack surely didn't get worse over the last few months, did it?

As far as the duo part of the equation comes, concerns from 2023 are absolutely valid. The Cardinals saw their rushing attack drop fairly noticeably when Conner wasn't in action.

However, Michael Carter found his groove at the end of the season, and the Cardinals also made Benson the second running back off the board in the 2024 NFL Draft.

There's hope Benson can be just fine at the next level.

Together, the Conner-Benson duo should only further Arizona's success on the ground.

Months down the road, we may very well look back on this list and laugh.


Published
Donnie Druin

DONNIE DRUIN

Donnie Druin is the Publisher for All Cardinals and Inside The Suns. Donnie moved to Arizona in 2012 and has been with Fan Nation since 2018. In college he won "Best Sports Column" in the state of Arizona for his section and has previously provided coverage for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin for more news, updates, analysis and more!