Beanie Wells(notes) arrived in the NFL with an injury-prone label, then immediately sprained an ankle in camp. He's been more of a spectator than a participant in early practices. His pre-draft reputation – talented, fragile, under-motivated – seemed richly deserved.
Wells finally made an appearance in a preseason game for Arizona on Friday, however, and he reminded us of three things:
1. On skills alone, he deserved to be a first-rounder in the NFL draft;
3. The Packers' defense couldn't stop the run last year (131.6 rush YPG) and it won't be a clinic in '09, either.
Today we'll just set aside No. 3 and focus exclusively on Wells. He had seven carries for 46 yards and two touchdowns against Green Bay, and he showcased the full skill-set. Wells has excellent vision and patience, he can move a pile of tacklers, and he'll make people miss – sometimes in embarrassing ways, as Nick Collins(notes) can confirm (pictured, faceplant). Check Friday's highlights here via NFL.com. The most impressive run begins at the 0:39 mark. Note that fullback Tim Castille(notes) blocked poor Anthony Smith(notes) into oblivion.
Don't interpret the Cardinals' current depth chart as a definitive statement on the relative abilities of Hightower and Wells. The rookie has a clear edge on talent and he's an ideal candidate for a job-share, given the fact that he's easily tweaked. In postgame comments, Wells suggested that he wasn't even at full strength on Friday:
"I have to get back out there Monday and get my timing right and get my ankle better," he said. "I felt like I didn't have a lot of burst tonight."
Coulda fooled Green Bay.
Photo via AP Images