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A look back at David Johnson’s career with the Arizona Cardinals

This news story was published on May 18, 2020.
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All Americans love to work hard and play hard. For many across the States, this could mean playing cool online slots at sites, including LuckyLand slots, to relax when at home. For others, sports is the way they choose to have fun in their spare time. Of course, football is still the top sport for many, and that is certainly the case around North Iowa. Over the years, this has seen many football players being taken to the hearts of Northern Iowa residents. 

Although he was born in Memphis, Tennessee, David Johnson must surely be a favorite son for most people here. That is due to him spending much of his formative years in the region before moving on to a glittering pro ball career. His recent trade to the Houston Texans may have raised a few eyebrows, but it also gives us a perfect chance to look back at David Johnson’s career with the Arizona Cardinals.

David Johnson – a player summary and his early years

To get an idea of Johnson’s career so far, it is worth briefly summing up what he offers as a player. Playing as a running back, he weighs in at around 224 pounds and is 6 feet 1 inch in height. He is also notable when on form for having exceptional pass-catching abilities, elusiveness, and explosive speed. 

Johnson attended Clinton High School in Iowa before moving on to college at Northern Iowa from 2010 to 2014. During this time, he excelled and played 50 games for the college, with a total of 4,682 rushing yards made overall. A superb Senior campaign for Northern Iowa earnt him a ticket to the 2015 NFL Draft. That carried on a proud tradition of sporting excellence at the college, which saw Nate Stanley get drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in this year’s draft.

Johnson moves to the Cardinals

In the 2015 Draft, the Arizona Cardinals spotted something in this athletic running back that prompted them to pick him up in round three at pick number 86. It is fair to say that, in his first two seasons, Johnson repaid their faith in spades with some outstanding performances. His rookie 2015 campaign was impressive with three touchdowns in his first two games! 

Much of 2015 saw him on the sidelines, but an injury to the main running back at Arizona, Chris Johnson, saw him get more game time. The results were positive. The standout performance during late 2015 was a primetime game against the Eagles when he carried the ball 29 times for 187 yards and announced his talent to a wider audience.

2016 – the breakout year

If people thought Johnson was impressive in 2015, they were simply blown away by his best season ever in 2016. To put it bluntly, he was the best running back in the NFL during that season. Johnson carried the ball 293 times for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns. When you also add in his 80 catches and two NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards, 2016 was a brilliant campaign for him. In his first 15 games of this season, Johnson made 100 yards from scrimmage, which saw him equal the record set by Barry Sanders.

A sharp decline before being traded

After such a fabulous 2016, everyone expected him to become a true global superstar from 2017 onwards. 2017 was a disappointing season for the player though, with much of it down to injury. An ACL injury around January 2017 was bad enough, but a wrist dislocation in the first game of 2017 saw him out for the whole campaign. On top of this, it was to be the last season in charge for coach Bruce Arians and this also turned out to harm Johnson’s future Cardinals career. 

2018 and 2019 were not much better for the player who struggled to match the form of his first two seasons. Steve Wilks became Head Coach for the 2018 campaign, and he just did not seem to know how to get the most from Johnson. 2019 saw renewed hopes for the Johnson of old to return as Kliff Kingsbury took over, but this did not happen. Even with a new offensive playbook and quarterback, Johnson often looked a little pedestrian. Eventually, the Cardinals brought in Kenyan Drake as their first-choice running back. 

Trade to the Texans shocks many 

In terms of Johnson’s time with the Cardinals, that is about it. Come March 2020, he was traded to the Houston Texans in a deal which raised many eyebrows around football. Not only did elite wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins come the other way, but the Texans also took on all of Johnson’s eye-watering salary. Of course, if they manage to get the best out of the player, it could be a great deal.

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