Cardinals Take Close Look at Explosive RB

Edgerrin James is getting old in a hurry. In 2007, he had a worse rushing average than Earnest Graham and fewer runs of 20-plus yards than Ron Dayne. The Cardinals must add some speed and explosion to their blasé backfield. They may have found just the prospect during their trip to the Senior Bowl.

The Cardinals still have bad memories of the last time the drafted a running back from the University of California. The Cards selected J.J. Arrington in the second round of the 2005 draft, and he has been held under 500 career rushing yards.

However, Arrington was the old regime's mistake, so you can toss the "once bitten, twice shy" mantra out the window.

Justin Forsett (5'8", 196 pounds) is a Cal product with loads of potential. In 2007, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry and tied a Cal record with 15 touchdowns. His 3,220 career rushing yards rank third in school history, even though he started just 17 games at Cal.

After backing up Arrington in 2004, Forsett played behind Marshawn Lynch in 2005 and 2006; Lynch was selected in the first round of last year's draft by the Buffalo Bills.

In 2007, Forsett took the lead job and ran with it, carrying 305 times for 1,546 yards. He earned All PAC-10 First Team honors and carried home the Bear Backer Award (Offensive MVP) and the Stub Allison Award (Most Inspirational).

"I am going to put on a good performance," he said. "I am just going to go out there, give my best, go full speed, and give 100 percent."

Forsett boasts great acceleration and a second gear in the open field. He has great vision and is tough to tackle in space.

His diminutive stature will likely force him to share the load with another back, making him the ideal complement for a between-the-tackles runner like James.

Forsett also believes he can spell James near the goal line, something Marcel Shipp did at times last season.

"(I can) get in there and get nasty and run with it," Forsett said.

The Cardinals need an explosive player like Forsett to jump-start their offense. He would add another element to a unit that ranked No. 7 in scoring last season (25.2 points per game).

How excited is Forsett by the prospect of joining a high-scoring team like the Cardinals?

"It's so crazy how close I am right now. I'm just trying to do all I can to make it there."

Now, let's see if the Cardinals return the favor.



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