Duke Johnson’s three year career at the University of Miami culminated in a huge final season. As a junior, Johnson ran for 1,652 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 6.8 ypc. In addition to his prowess in the running game, he added 38 receptions for 421 yards with 3 receiving touchdowns. He finished second in the ACC in rushing but led the league in ypc (for all players over 100 attempts).
Johnson is an explosive player and has that sudden burst where he can excel into another speed to get where he wants to go. He has good vision, runs well in traffic and does a good job picking his spots. He has a tremendous cut-back ability and can avoid tackles or run through them. Johnson also has the skills to be a great weapon in the passing game or as a part of special teams.
At 5’9″, 207 pounds there are size concerns which means there are concerns that he may not be an every down back. Pass protection needs improvement. Injuries have been a factor during his college career.
Preferably a team that uses a two-back system and a short passing game. The Philadelphia Eagles or Indianapolis Colts would be a good landing spot as well as the San Diego Chargers.
Johnson is one of the best running backs in the draft, but what does that mean in today’s day and age of NFL running backs?
He could slide up to the end of the first round but he will likely be a second round pick.
Duke Johnson has the ability to contribute immediately at the NFL level but I would not expect him to be a three-down back to start his career. His ability to aid in the running game, passing game and potentially on special teams makes him a very valuable commodity.