RB Jonathan Dwyer, Free agent
HT: 5-11, WT: 229, Born: 7-26-1989, College: Georgia Tech, Drafted: Round 6
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Jonathan Dwyer will compete for a spot in the Cardinals' rotation at running back. Andre Ellington is the starter, but the plan is to use multiple running backs in something resembling a committee so as to keep Ellington fresh. Dwyer spent his first four NFL seasons with the Steelers, the first two of those with Bruce Arians as his offensive coordinator. In his time with the Steelers, Dwyer was generally a competent but unspectacular backup. The problem with Dwyer as a fantasy prospect this season is that even if Ellington is injured, Dwyer would likely split carries with Stepfan Taylor (who probably has an edge over Dwyer for the higher spot between the two of them on the depth chart). It would therefore require not one, but two injuries to other Cardinals RBs before Dwyer had any appreciable fantasy value. Consider him a late-round flyer in deep leagues, undraftable in shallow leagues.
2013 Game Summaries
Week 2 - Dwyer was the second back in for the Steelers and he was stopped for a short gain on a run outside left tackle. Dwyer seemingly only came into the game because Redman was being evaluated for a concussion, as he didn't return to the field again.
Week 3 - Dwyer had his first carry in the second quarter, but he was tackled as soon as he got the ball. On his second carry, not only did he get past the line of scrimmage, but he continued down the field for a big gain before finishing the play with a hard hit on the defensive back. Dwyer was still spelling Jones at that point, but after Jones fumbled he didn't see the field again. Dwyer ran well, he wasn't as consistent as Jones, but he showed flashes. At this point, whoever holds onto the ball in Pittsburgh will see the field. Those who don't, won't.
Week 4 - Dwyer came in late in the first quarter for the first time, as the second back. With Isaac Redman inactive, Dwyer got the nod ahead of Felix Jones. LeVeon Bell was very impressive and making the most of his touches, so Dwyer didn't get many chances to impress. He did have a strong seven yard gain early in the third quarter. He stayed in for the next play, but was stopped for a loss of one when he cutback into a wall of Vikings defenders.
Week 6 - Jonathan Dwyer was active over Isaac Redman, but he was barely used. He didn't see the field until the fourth quarter, when he had just one carry in short-yardage.
Week 7 - Dwyer was the third back into the game and got his first carry in the second quarter. Dwyer converted a short-yardage situation by running off left guard. He appears to be the new option in short-yardage as Isaac Redman was a healthy inactive again this week.
Week 8 - Dwyer's first carry came in the third quarter. He ran off tackle and broke two tackle attempts before getting out of bounds for a first down. The Steelers went straight back to him, but he was hit in the backfield.
Week 9 - Dwyer's first carry came late in the second quarter, when he immediately broke into the secondary for a huge gain on a well blocked run. Late in the fourth quarter, after the Patriots took a 17 point lead to all but seal the game, Dwyer came in and caught a 20 yard pass out of the backfield.
Week 10 - Dwyer was the third back onto the field, but he immediately had a positive play. On third and one, the Steelers ran Dwyer off tackle and he shifted his feet to slip through the line for a six yard gain. He came in on third and one again two minutes later and fought through the line well for a two yard gain. Dwyer caught a screen pass soon after, but he was stopped at the line of scrimmage. On third and three, on the same drive, Dwyer ran into his own blocker before bouncing outside and escaping down the sideline for an eight yard gain. Dwyer added a six yard gain before the half and didn't see the football again until the fourth quarter. A 17 yard gain came with that carry, but it was a result of a huge hole that opened up directly in front of the running back. If anything, Dwyer failed to make the gain even bigger by not beating a defender in space.
Week 11 - Dwyer came in late in the second quarter, but his first carry was negated by a holding penalty and he fell down as soon as he caught a screen pass on the next play. He caught a pass out of the backfield for a first down in the fourth quarter.
Week 12 - Dwyer was the third back onto the field. He caught a one yard pass in the flat after lining up as a receiver in the second quarter. His first carry came on third and one in the third quarter, but he was stopped short. The Steelers went back to him on fourth and one, but he was again stopped short. Dwyer had another carry in the fourth quarter to spell Bell, but he gained just one yard on first and 10. Dwyer got more carries late in the fourth quarter as the Steelers were looking to close out the clock, but he made little impression.
Week 14 - Dwyer came in during the first quarter for his first carry. On third and one, he pushed his way through the middle of the defensive line for a first down. Dwyer converted another third and one in the second quarter.
Week 15 - Dwyer was the third back onto the field. He came in during the series Bell took off in the second quarter. His first carry went for five yards up the middle. The Steelers then tossed the ball to him and he showed good acceleration to get a first down around the corner. Dwyer didn't see the field again until the Steelers had a 10 point lead with two and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Week 16 - Dwyer didn't come into the game until the third quarter. As he generally does, he immediately ran the ball up the middle for a seven yard gain. Dwyer showed some versatility then as he caught a pass in the flat before making a defender miss for a first down.
Week 17 - Cemented into his role as the Steelers' short-yardage back, Dwyer got a chance to show off his ability early on the Steelers' first drive. He came in on third and one close to midfield to power his way through the middle for a first down. Unusually, Dwyer came in on a second and 13 play in the second quarter before he caught a pass for nine yards over the middle of the field. Dwyer came in for Bell in the fourth quarter for one drive as the Steelers' focus shifted to running out the clock.