The case for … David Johnson as NFL MVP

The Cardinals’ second-year running back is not special just because of what he’s doing on the field, but when he is doing it. Johnson arrived in an era where teams are ceaseless in their worry over running back workloads. How many touches is too many? Will a No. 1 back burn out before big games late in the year? What’s the shelf life of a player at that position.

Arizona doesn’t seem all that concerned, nor should it be. With his team’s quarterback, Carson Palmer, struggling to find his footing in 2016, Johnson has been the player upon which the Cardinals’ offense has leaned. He has carried the ball 156 times and caught 35 passes out of the backfield.

And what has he done with those 191 touches? Posted 1,191 yards from scrimmage, the most in the NFL by a substantial margin—Tennessee RB DeMarco Murray is next, with 951.

Johnson is magic with the ball in his hands, just as capable of turning the corner and bursting beyond the second level as he is of fighting for extra yardage between the tackles. Maybe Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott has been a better pure runner this season, but no offensive player has been more electrifying as an all-around threat. — Chris Burke 

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