Arizona Cardinals running back Chris "Beanie" Wells seems to have matured by several years since his first training camp last summer. Wells and his fiancee have a son, and all are settled into Arizona.
"It's great," he said. "My focus is on my family and football and nothing else."
Wells has changed physically, too. After a year of working under strength coach John Lott, Wells weighs in the 230s but is lean and looks fast. Even as a rookie, he dispelled the notion that he was a soft player, finishing several runs by punishing tacklers.
Wells led the Cardinals in rushing last season with 793 yards on 176 carries, a 4.5-yard average. More is expected this season, but that doesn't mean Wells has passed Tim Hightower as the starter.
Hightower could stay in that role, yet it's Wells who is likely to be featured in the running game. In the final 10 games of last season, including two in the playoffs, Wells had 47 more carries than Hightower.
A lot of people are seeing Beanie as a breakout player, but it would have been a whole lot easier for him to emerge had Kurt Warner opted against retiring. With Matt Leinart at the controls, the Arizona offense isn't the same. The Cardinals will run the ball more, which certainly helps Beanie's cause, but in most cases he's being drafted too high. His current ADP has him going in the third round of most drafts, and we don't envision him producing at that level.