Draft field thins out beyond two best running backs

TEMPE, Ariz. -- This much about the Arizona Cardinals' draft needs is known: They could use another big running back.

The running back class in this year’s draft is divided between Melvin Gordon from Wisconsin and Todd Gurley from Georgia and the rest. If either of those two is still on the board when Arizona picks 24th in the first round, they’ll likely be a Cardinal next season.

But if they’re both gone, or if Cardinals general manager Steve Keim finds a better option, Arizona may be able to find another back later in the draft but they won’t be of the same quality as Gordon and Gurley.

Here’s a look at five big running backs who are lurking behind the obvious top two backs in the draft:

Tevin Coleman, Indiana: He may not be the strongest running back in the draft, but Coleman has the size to get tough yards and the ability to break any play for a home run. He likely doesn’t fit the Jonathan Dwyer mold and he doesn’t have the Andre Ellington-type shiftiness but Coleman doesn’t need much room to get by defenders. His ball security has been a concern but he consistently got better at a subpar college program. What would also make Coleman attractive to the Cardinals is his ability to play special teams. If Arizona is confident that Robert Hughes can fill the short-yardage role on offense, then Coleman could be a good complement to Ellington. Would be a good late second-day or early third-day pick.

Size: 5-foot-11, 206 pounds

Jay Ajayi, Boise State: Ajayi is kind of in the same boat as Coleman when it comes to the Cardinals. He’s not powerful enough to pound out yards in short situations or on the goal line. He has shiftiness and he can get outside, which would make him a good complement but he wouldn’t fill a need. He has a background of character issues but Keim would have to find out if he’s grown out of them. Ajayi also has ball security issues and Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has shown in the past he doesn’t tolerate fumbling. If he’s around late on the second day, the Cardinals may want to take a long look at him.

Size: 5-foot-11, 216 pounds

T.J. Yeldon, Alabama: One of the primary knocks on Yeldon is that he doesn’t have the power or the strength to push piles, which is what the Cardinals would need him to do. He’s considered a smooth runner by many but he has the size to be formidable on third downs. He’s also talented in the passing game, with good, soft hands so his role could grow beyond being a third-down and short-yardage back. Wouldn’t be worth a high pick but going in the fourth round or later makes sense.

Size: 6-foot-1, 226 pounds

David Johnson, Northern Iowa: Strong and built, Johnson can keep plays alive and keep moving forward because of his quick-moving feet. He’s not known as a speedy back who can make a couple of cuts and break away from defenders, but that won’t be his role in Arizona. Johnson isn’t easy to bring down, which will make him tough in short-yardage and goal-line situations. He’s also been productive in special teams, returning a kickoff for a touchdown in 2014. Would be a good third-day pick.

Size: 6-foot, 224 pounds

Javorius “Buck” Allen, USC: Allen has the strength and physicality to get short yards but he won’t be the type of back to break away from a defender. He is patient though and has good vision, which is helpful in short situations. He also tends to fall forward which will come in handy on third-and-shorts. He’s tall and has the bulk to battle for extra yards.

Size: 6-foot, 221 pounds