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Bruce Arians: David Johnson 'will find a niche quick'

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Asked recently what he thought of Arizona's draft class, Bruce Arians gushed, saying: "Oh, God, all the drafts picks are right on the money."

The Cardinals coach went out of his way to sprinkle even more sugar on running back David Johnson, the Northern Iowa product taken with the No. 86 overall pick in the draft.

"Very, very bright," Arians said, per Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic. "The kid can do anything as far as a wide receiver, running back, fullback. He will find a niche quick because he can learn so much."

Everyone resembles a golden god in minicamp action. The hype is thick, but Arians typically shoots straight on his roster. 

After the coach promised to use Tyrann Mathieu creatively as a rookie in 2013, the Cardinals did just that with the versatile defensive back. Last summer, the swarm of puff pieces on John Brown also panned out, with the freaky wideout emerging as a first-year playmaker.

Arians said this month that incumbent starter Andre Ellington "will continue his same role" in the backfield, but Cardinals general manager Steve Keim also talked about Johnson as a "three-down back" who will compete for snaps. The rookie's 4.50 speed is intriguing, but Johnson has been criticized for his upright running style.

"His size, his straight-line speed, and his receiving ability will get him drafted, but you have to understand his limitations," NFL Films guru Greg Cosell told the Ross Tucker Football Podcast before the draft. "He's not an inside runner. He's not a powerful runner despite his size. He's not really that laterally quick. To me, his best chance to be a factor is with a team that deploys a high percentage of shotgun with three-wide receiver personnel, and you can use him as a receiver. I don't think he's a foundation back in this league, based on his running style."

Johnson, though, feels like a fit for what Arians does on offense. We expect Arizona to employ plenty of three-wideout sets, while using a healthy combination of Ellington and Johnson.

It's not Adrian Peterson, but the Cardinals are in a better place in the backfield.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Lindsay Rhodes to discuss the Patriots' response in the "Deflategate" saga and the latest names revealed on the "The Top 100 Players of 2015" countdown. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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