The “Chase” for Greatness

Edmonds has always been an underdog, but with the best opportunity to become an everyday back in front of him, his “Chase” for greatness may soon cross the finish line.

The+Cardinals+running+back+movement+has+opened+up+an+opportunity+for+Edmonds+to+become+the+teams+starting+back+this+season.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29

The Cardinals’ running back movement has opened up an opportunity for Edmonds to become the team’s starting back this season. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Ryan Olson, Contributing Writer

In the last 25 years, only two Fordham Rams have been drafted into the NFL: quarterback John Skelton in 2010 and running back Chase Edmonds in 2018. Both were selected by the Arizona Cardinals. As a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school, Fordham has not manufactured professional talent quite like powerhouse universities. However, Chase Edmonds is doing his very best to change that. 

The 5’9” back from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has proven his ability to hold his own with the household names of the NFL. In 2020, Edmonds arguably had his best season to date, rushing for 448 yards and hauling in 53 passes. In addition, the Fordham alum broke the pylon five times during the season, with four of them coming via the pass. 

Edmonds has maintained his role primarily due to his explosive pass-catcher ability. In fact, he had the seventh-most receptions among running backs last season. For the most part, he was exclusively used in passing situations, with Kenyan Drake getting the bulk of the carries last year. He’s never been a “bell-cow” back, one who receives over 70% of the team’s carries, but he hopes to change that.

In Edmond’s defense, the Fordham back has always been surrounded by top-tier talents such as David Johnson and Kenyan Drake. Johnson had already established himself as the lead back in Arizona before Edmonds came on the scene. Back in 2016, Johnson had a historic season, rushing for 1200 plus yards and 16 touchdowns. Johnson remained the top-back until he was traded to Houston in a package for DeAndre Hopkins before the 2020 season. 

Midway during the 2019 season, the Cardinals acquired Kenyan Drake from the Houston Texans as well. Drake shined in eight games during 2019, rushing for 643 yards and eight touchdowns, which solidified him as the back going forward. 

Now, let’s flash forward to 2021. Drake left for the Las Vegas Raiders, giving Edmonds the best opportunity of his career to become a three-down back on a team with playoff aspirations. Prior to the season, the Cardinals did sign fan-favorite and cancer survivor James Conner. Similar to Johnson, Conner is recognized for a single impressive season, but the rest have been mediocre to say the least. 

For arguably the first time in his NFL career, Edmonds has a chance to become more than just a pass-catching back. The door is open, but not for very long, especially in the sports world. When asked about his desire for a bigger role in May, Edmonds  said, “It’s now or never.” The opportunity he has dreamed of is now attainable. 

Edmonds’ first three years in the NFL haven’t been easy as he essentially served as the Cardinals’ backup. Edmonds has always been an underdog, but the Fordham community is rooting for him and believes that his “Chase” for greatness is possible.