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Andre Ellington injury concerns are overblown

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

(Courtesy YouTube)

Cardinals GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians seem to be fighting themselves when it comes to second-year running back Andre Ellington.

They're building the offense around him. They don't see him as a featured back. They want him to get 20 carries and 10 catches - 10! -- per game. They're worried about overuse and getting him hurt.

Ellington is a special talent. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry as a rookie, including 3.2 yards per carry after contact -- second best in the NFL. He lined up at receiver, creating big mismatches. He had two of his best games at San Francisco and Seattle, the NFL's toughest places to play.

Injury concerns have more to do with Ellington's 5-foot-9 stature than his actual injury history. He missed one game as a rookie with a knee injury.

At Clemson, he played all 14 games as a redshirt freshman. He missed five games due to a toe injury as a sophomore, then played 13 games in both his junior and senior years. All told, he's missed all or most of eight games in five years.

Ellington is spending the offseason bulking up, and should play this season at 210 pounds. He's not fragile, and the Cardinals would be wise to ride him.

CBS Sports Fantasy experts rank Ellington from No. 20-22 among RBs. I suspect you'll see him vault past guys like Chris Johnson and Ray Rice by the time August rolls around.

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