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Andre Ellington to be used like Jamaal Charles in 2014

Andre Ellington came in at No. 3 on Around The League's "Making the Leap" countdown after coach Bruce Arians made it clear this offseason that the running back will be the focal point of the Arizona Cardinals' offense.

In fantasy football circles, there has been some debate over the extent to which Arians will actually lean on Ellington, a smaller back deemed incapable of carrying a heavy workload as a rookie.

According to Cardinals game analyst Ron Wolfley, the coaching staff views Ellington as their version of Jamaal Charles.

"I think he's gonna be basically Jamaal Charles," Wolfley said during the telecast of the preseason opener. "I think that probably is the best comparison."

Regarding Arians' prescription of 25 to 30 touches per game, Wolfley said, "I'll believe it when I see it."

"But at the same time," Wolfley added, "I was talking to some coaches, guys that I have an awful lot of regard and respect for on this team that believe he's a 2,000-yard per year player -- just like Charles, 70 receptions.

"They're going to get him the ball, they're going to do it in creative ways. ... He's a rare talent. He really is. Because there's not many running backs you can take and split them out."

Arians is so confident in Ellington's pass catching and route running that he believes the former Clemson star could be an NFL starter at wide receiver. Darren Sproles was the only running back to line up as a wide receiver more often than Ellington in 2013, per Football Outsiders.

Cardinals fans shouldn't expect to see Ellington running between the tackles to kill the clock, as Charles did as the NFL's most valuable running back last season. But there's reason to believe Arians can get the ball in Ellington's hands in space to emulate Andy Reid's success with Charles in the passing game and outside the trenches.

*The latest "Around the League Podcast" broke down the biggest position battles and ranked the best backup QBs in the league. *

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