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Duke Johnson | Running Back

Team: Miami (FL) Hurricanes
Ht / Wt:  5'9' / 206

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Miami RB Duke Johnson was "a great value in the third round," according to ESPN's Todd McShay.
The Browns plucked Johnson with the No. 77 overall pick. "He is a big-play weapon in space and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield if he can stay healthy in the NFL," McShay wrote. Johnson is skilled as a receiver and is better at breaking tackles and gaining extra yardage than he's given credit for because of his size. We think Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West will be in a fight to retain playing time. May 4 - 7:32 PM

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Date:

Browns selected Miami RB Duke Johnson with the No. 77 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

The Browns seemed to rotate Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West last year after Ben Tate failed as a free agent signing, so adding another running back makes sense. Johnson (5'9/207) was the Hurricanes' lead back for most of his three college seasons, parlaying 526 career carries into 3,519 yards (6.69 YPC) and 26 TDs. Arguably the premier receiving back in the 2015 class, Johnson added 69 receptions with four more scores. Johnson ran 4.54 at the Combine with a 33 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-1 broad jump. Although his measurables are average, Johnson has deceptive tackle-breaking ability for his size. He's slippery between the tackles, laterally explosive, consistently finishes runs, and has three-down tools. Do not be surprised if he is viewed as a change of pace back early on.
May 1 - 10:24 PM

Miami RB Duke Johnson "is one of the fastest players in this class, with elite burst to and through the hole," notes ESPN's Todd McShay.

"One of the most important qualities in a running back is the ability to create yards on your own, and Johnson can do that with his ability to make defenders miss in the hole and with his electrifying lateral agility," McShay wrote. "He can stop and start on a dime and can quickly change directions while working through multiple creases. Running plays don't always go the way you draw them up on the chalk board, so a lot of times you need to find the second crease, which is why Johnson's ability to change direction without losing momentum is so important." Johnson led draft-eligible backs from Power 5 conferences in percentage of rush attempts that gained 10 or more yards (18.7 percent) last year. "He is also an excellent pass-catcher, with his ability to quickly transition upfield after the catch and then make defenders miss in the open field," McShay wrote. Johnson is also a good kickoff returner.
Apr 26 - 11:59 PM

Miami RB Duke Johnson "isn't going to be a bell-cow runner in the NFL, but like [Ameer] Abdullah, he could be a big-time contributor as a change-of-pace runner who plays in tandem with a power back," notes ESPN's Todd McShay.

"He's one of the best pass-catchers of all the running backs in this class, which makes him a big-time threat on third down," McShay wrote. "There is some concern about his durability and whether he can consistently stay on the field at the NFL level." Johnson led draft-eligible backs from Power 5 conferences in percentage of rush attempts that gained 10 or more yards (18.7 percent) last year. Johnson has been compared to Chris Johnson in the past, but he's not quite the elite sprinter on the stop watch.
Apr 24 - 6:53 PM

Miami RB Duke Johnson's "draft stock has been somewhat capped due to durability issues and his relatively small frame, but his breakaway ability could be second to none in this draft," wrote ESPN's K.C. Joyner.

Amongst draft-eligible backs from Power 5 conferences, Johnson led the pack in percentage of rush attempts that gained 10 or more yards (18.7 percent) last year. "This breakaway ability isn't limited to rushing attempts, as Johnson also led the nation in long scrimmage plays," Joyner wrote. "He's also a great receiver out of the backfield. He could make a team that takes him on Day 2 very happy."
Apr 19 - 8:17 PM

Miami RB Duke Johnson "is an entertaining back who can explode in any direction at any time, sometimes a bit out of control and in haste," wrote NFLDraftScout.com's Frank Cooney.

"He can be a game-breaker with his talent or a back-breaker with his fumbles," Cooney wrote. "He is certainly worth a shot, but is not the guy to carry an NFL team on his back." Johnson has been compared to Chris Johnson in the past, but he's not quite the elite sprinter on the stop watch. Asked about his skills, Johnson replied: "Being able to receive out of the backfield is the No. 1 thing. I'm a mismatch with linebackers. I can catch the ball really well."
Source: CBS Sports
Apr 14 - 10:05 AM

An NFL scout speaking to ESPN's Todd McShay raised concerns about Miami RB Duke Johnson's ability to stay on the field.

The scout questioned Johnson's toughness and frame. "If teams are worried he could miss multiple games each year, that will certainly hurt his stock," McShay wrote. "When he's on the field, he provides a lot in terms of his third-down capabilities and big-play ability." The 5-foot-9, 194-pound Johnson had 1,652 rushing yards on a 6.8 YPC average and 10 touchdowns in 2014, adding 38 receptions for 421 yards and three scores. "Among the running back prospects in this year's class, Johnson offers some of the best skills as a pass-catcher, and that was on display Wednesday [at his pro day]," wrote McShay. "He looked really good running routes and was very comfortable catching the ball."
Apr 6 - 6:08 PM

CBS Sports Dane Brugler reports that Miami RB Duke Johnson (hamstring) is expected to be a full participant at Wednesday's pro day.

In other words, Johnson intends to take part in all tests in addition to position drills. Priority No. 1 for the talented runner is improving upon his combine 40-yard dash after posting a disappointing 4.54 in Indianapolis. That number, of course, could have been affected by a right hamstring strain. Because of that injury, Johnson didn't run the shuttles or the three-cone drill at the combine. Expect all 32 teams to simply migrate south after taking in FSU's pro day on Thursday. They'll also check out OT Ereck Flowers, LB Denzel Perryman, TE Clive Walford, DE Anthony Chickillo, WR Phillip Dorsett, DB Ladarius Gunter and OL Jon Feliciano.
Source: CBS Sports
Mar 31 - 5:43 PM

Miami RB Duke Johnson "compares favorably to [Shane] Vereen from a size, style and versatility standpoint," points out Scouts Inc.'s Kevin Weidl.

It's an interesting observation, because New England lost Vereen to the Giants and might now seek out his replacement in the draft. Johnson, a newer make of a similar sports car, should hold great interest because of that. "He has a strong combination of vision, quickness and burst to create yards as a runner and after the catch, and he is dangerous in space," Weidl wrote. "In addition, Johnson brings the versatility to create mismatches in the passing game with experience both out of the backfield and flexed out in the slot." The 5-foot-9, 194-pound Johnson had 1,652 rushing yards on a 6.8 YPC average and 10 touchdowns in 2014, adding 38 receptions for 421 yards and three scores.
Mar 21 - 4:46 PM

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks notes that scouts have "raved about" Miami RB Duke Johnson's "footwork, quickness and creativity."

"The scouts also touted Miami RB Duke Johnson as a playmaker. They raved about his footwork, quickness and creativity. Impressed with IQ, too," Brooks tweeted. The 5-foot-9, 194-pound Johnson possesses a ton of explosiveness, which should translate well to the next level. However, the Miami prospect will have to continue to improve in pass-protection, in order to see valuable time on the field. NFL teams looking for a back with game-changing ability in the open field, will look to grab him on day 2 of the draft.
Mar 18 - 2:33 PM

NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein believes Miami RB Duke Johnson's "lack of protection skills and his injury concerns could force him into a committee situation."

"One of the most explosive runners in college football during his time at Miami, Johnson doesn't need much of a crease to make defenses pay," Zierlein wrote. "His explosive quickness and elusiveness should help him adapt quickly to NFL speed and his feel and courage as a one-cut runner should earn him instant playing time." The analyst compares Johnson to C.J. Spiller. "Explosive burst and plays with suddenness," his scouting report reads. "Elusive in tight quarters. Has lightning in his feet. Has hips and feet to stop and start without stalling. Rare ability on stretch plays to hit cutback lanes that other backs can't get to. Runs with patience and a well-timed burst." The 5-foot-9, 194-pound Johnson had 1,652 rushing yards on a 6.8 YPC average and 10 touchdowns in 2014, adding 38 receptions for 421 yards and three scores.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 18 - 2:42 AM

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks believes Miami RB Duke Johnson would "be the best fit" to replace Lesean McCoy in the draft for Philadelphia.

"Duke Johnson in my mind would probably be the best fit. He's a carbon copy of Shady McCoy stylistically, the way he runs inside and outside," Brooks said. The Hurricane prospect offers a versatile skill-set and is the perfect weapon coming out of the backfield. Johnson shows ton of explosiveness and may fit the profile of what Chip Kelly is looking for in a future back.
Source: NFL.com
Mar 4 - 2:00 PM

Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman spoke to one NFL scout who questioned why Miami did not win at least nine games in 2014.

The scout called attention to multiple NFL prospects, including RB Duke Johnson, WR Phillip Dorsett, LB Denzel Perryman and DE Anthony Chickillo, along with freshman QB Brad Kaaya. "They had more front-line talent than half the teams in the SEC," the evaluator said. Multiple players told Feldman they do not blame head coach Al Golden for the losses, but the question lingers.
Source: Fox Sports
Feb 25 - 10:28 AM

Miami RB Duke Johnson "a very explosive player, but durability concerns could hurt his draft stock," wrote ESPN's Todd McShay.

"He's undersized (5-9, 206), and even though he started all 13 games in 2014, he's dealt with some injuries during his Miami career," McShay wrote. "He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in 2013, has dealt with concussion-like symptoms and has a history of migraines." The 5-foot-9, 194-pound Johnson had 1,652 rushing yards on a 6.8 YPC average and 10 touchdowns in 2014, adding 38 receptions for 421 yards and three scores. He finished with 3,519 career rushing yards, passing in the record books elite Hurricane RBs such as Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee and Ottis Anderson. CBS projects him as a Day 2 pick.
Feb 18 - 11:34 AM

The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson spoke with one NFC scout who believes Miami RB Duke Johnson will merely be a third down back "due to his size."

If it is only based on size, that is ridiculous. We will soon see what Johnson weighs, but he was listed at 5'9/200 lbs while with the Hurricanes. There is a major difference between "short" and "small." Also, a number of ball carriers have succeeded at that size, and smaller, on more than just passing downs.
Feb 16 - 10:30 AM