Player Round Table (Chris Wells)
By FBG Staff; Hosted by Maurile Tremblay
August 6th, 2010

Here at Footballguys.com, we have Spotlights and Faceoffs. Those features are fairly comprehensive, but they are limited to viewpoints from either one or two writers. Some players need a little more commentary. We have opened up the dialog and asked our staff to leave their thoughts on these players and what is expected from them in 2010. Here, discussion centers around RB Chris Wells.

Andy Hicks: With the uncertainty in the Cardinals passing game following the retirement of Kurt Warner and the departure of Anquan Boldin to the Baltimore Ravens, Arizona is hoping that Chris Wells' development will help it end its long futility in the running game. Although the Cardinals once again ranked last in rushing attempts last year, Wells' play was a bright spot as the season unfolded. In weeks 14, 15 and 16, Wells got 15+ carries and registered a touchdown in each game.

I do fear that Wells may still be locked in an RBBC situation with Tim Hightower. Also, if Matt Leinart is ineffective, opposing defenses will stack the box and make life difficult for Wells. Finally, Wells has a reputation for being a bit soft, and there's no guarantee that he can hold up if he gets 20+ carries a game.

Despite all that, I think we have seen enough from Wells to bite the bullet and use an early third-round pick on his potential. If you do invest in him this year, though, ensure you have depth at the RB position in case Wells turns into the latest failure in a long line of promising Cardinal RBs.

Sigmund Bloom: Tim Hightower is not going away. He got the first-team reps in OTAs and early in training camp, and he will play a huge role in short-yardage and goal-line sets, and on passing downs, regardless of who the ceremonial starter is when the season begins. The Cardinals also look to be a mediocre team with middling QB play at best and a defense that lost its best linebacker and a very good starting safety. There is a real danger that Wells won't get rolling because the Cards are in transition from a pass-first offense to a balanced offense. He is more than talented enough to rush for 1,500 yards, but the opportunity and surrounding situation does not look to be there this year. I would be hesitant to take him before the late third no matter how enamored I was with his talent.

Jeff Pasquino: Wells will be a much bigger part of the Arizona ground game this year, but his current ADP is just way too high for my liking. Wells has yet to prove that he can be the running back of choice down near the goal line, and the leading option from last year (Tim Hightower) is still on the roster. While I look for the Cardinals to favor the ground game more this year with Kurt Warner retired and Anquan Boldin now in Baltimore, until Wells establishes himself as the RB to own from a fantasy perspective, I cannot endorse him as a Top 15 back for 2010.

Will Grant: The biggest issue that I have with Wells (and Hightower too) is that the Arizona offense is a giant question mark. The general assumption is that since Matt Leinart has little chance of posting Kurt Warner-type stats, the Cardinals will run the ball more. But will they be as effective running the ball when opposing defenses are not so worried about the pass? If the passing game struggles that much, you'll see defenses start to stack more guys in the box and safeties will start to cheat up for run support. If Leinart isn't as accurate as Warner, you can expect that Arizona will be facing more second-and-long and third-and-long situations. Will they stick to the 'run first' offense at that point, or will they throw it long for Larry Fitzgerald and hope he comes up with it? Will they stick to the running game if they're down by 14 points at the half?

I'd much rather have a more proven back at RB16 than take a shot on a guy like Wells who could just as easily repeat last season's performance rather than suddenly break out into the top 15.

© 2010 Footballguys - All Rights Reserved