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first_img Your browser does not support the audio element. Top Stories LISTEN: David Johnson, Cardinals running back “I think we were at the mall just enjoying our little vacation in Florida, and the Cardinals called me like an hour before they pick, and they were asking me basically who else called me, and at the time no one else did,” he said. “They were just asking me who else called me, and I told them no, no one else. They just told me ‘hold tight and we’ll see what happens.’“I got the call like an hour later and they were like, ‘You’re a Cardinal.’ I was just excited, it was a dream come true and I was just so blessed to have an opportunity to come here.”In “All or Nothing,” as the Cardinals are leading up to choosing Johnson, the conversation in the room is about how the player was incredibly productive in college as both a runner and receiver.“He’s got great hands, and he’s a big back,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said, adding he can do everything Andre Ellington can as a receiver but is a bigger player. “Pass blocks, and he’s a kickoff returner. I like him.”No matter how much the Cardinals liked him, though, it appears they did learn a lesson from their failed attempt to land Abdullah. A third-round pick out of Northern Iowa in 2015, he ran for 581 yards and eight touchdowns on 125 carries, caught 36 passes for 457 yards and four touchdowns, and scored another time on a kick return.His 13 total touchdowns were the most in franchise history for a rookie, and by the end of the season he had taken hold of the team’s No. 1 running back job.The Cardinals are certainly happy to have him, though his presence on the roster may very well have been due to some bad luck ultimately working in the team’s favor.You see, as shown in the first episode of the Amazon series “All or Nothing,” the Cardinals had their sights set on a different running back, one they would take in the second-round of last year’s draft.The show shows vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough in the Cardinals’ draft war room on the phone with Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah. Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) tries to elude Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) 0 Comments   Share   The @AZCardinals had Ameer Abdullah on the phone.Then Detroit called. And they were on the clock. #AllorNothing https://t.co/LPQxApUVLQ— NFL (@NFL) June 30, 2016“So are we excited? I know we’ve done so much work on you, from all the times we talked to you, we definitely are one of the places you wanted to be,” he said. After getting burned by the Lions a round earlier, the Cardinals apparently made sure to tell Johnson that if any other teams gave him a call, the message was Arizona was never there.“I think so, I think they did,” he said when asked if he was instructed to lie — if necessary.Turns out it was not an issue. The Cardinals were the only organization that gave Johnson’s phone a ring.“I didn’t get any calls from any other team on draft day,” he said. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The scene then shows GM Steve Keim, who is laughing and clapping.“We’ve been talking about this pick since the Combine,” he says, with team president Michael Bidwill adding he likes Abdullah “a lot.”Then, disaster strikes.Abdullah lets McDonough know the Detroit Lions are on the phone, and as a few profanities fly around the room, it is announced that yes, the Lions chose the running back at pick No. 54. The Cardinals rebounded and chose Missouri linebacker Markus Golden at pick No. 58, and then, the next round, landed Johnson with pick No. 86.Abdullah ran for 597 yards and two touchdowns on 143 carries, while adding another 183 yards and one score on 25 receptions. Golden finished his rookie season with 37 total tackles, four sacks, five tackles for loss, 16 QB pressures and 14 QB hits.It’s safe to say things worked out pretty well for the Cardinals. The cliche “it’s better to be lucky than good” may apply, though no doubt the team choosing Johnson was not entirely based on luck.Of course, Johnson would have had no idea about the team’s interest in Abdullah a round earlier, nor would he probably care. The only thing that mattered was he was picked, and as he told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday, he had tried to avoid watching the draft so that he would not get frustrated. Everyone knows how much of a crapshoot the NFL Draft is.Teams do the best they can to grab talent, but even with all the resources they spend — money, time, energy — the reality is things rarely go 100 percent according to plan.Often times, the random nature of the draft leads to players not living up to their draft status.  Sometimes, a player not only lives up to it, but surpasses it.The Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson belongs in the latter group.last_img


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