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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jess Root

James Conner doesn’t make cut for top RBs entering 2022

The Arizona Cardinals were very pleased with what they got out of running back James Conner last season in a shared role with Chase Edmonds. It is why they re-signed him to a three-year, $21 million contract this offseason.

His per-year contract average is tied for the 10th-highest among running backs. He is paid like a top-10 back in the league.

However, in Doug Farrar’s rankings of the top 11 running backs in the league entering 2022 for Touchdown Wire, Conner does not make the cut.

Conner ranked 27th in the league in rushing yards with 752, but he did have a total of 1,127 total yards from scrimmage because of his 37 catches for 375 yards. He was tired for second in the NFL with 15 rushing touchdowns.

Of course, he did that in a shared role with Edmonds, playing 58% of the team’s offensive snaps. He was selected to the Pro Bowl.

Entering 2022, he will see his role increase. His usage will probably match what Kenyan Drake had in 2020, who had 239 rushes and 25 receptions.

Conner had 206 total touchdowns last season. Playing a full season, he probably will see 250-plus touches in 2022.

Should he be in the top 11 running backs in the league?

Perhaps. Rashaad Penny of the Seattle Seahawks had a five-game stretch to end last season that was special. He led the NFL with 6.3 yards per attempt, but he has never done much over a full season. He easily could replace Damien Harris, who comes in at No. 11.

With an increased role in 2022, Conner could potentially end up with 1,300-1,500 total yards from scrimmage. Perhaps we can find him on next year’s list.

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

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