Oct 23, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Miami Hurricanes running backDuke Johnson
(8) runs for a touchdown as Virginia Tech Hokies defensive tackleNigel Williams
(95) and linebacker Derek Di Nardo (41) defend in the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s take a look at another draft prospect.
The Jets need to fill out the running back position. Nobody believes that the Jets are going to move ahead with the running back depth chart as it stands right now, and they haven’t made an addition via the free agent market. They brought Bilal Powell back, but there is still a hole left open when Chris Johnson was not re-signed. So we turn to the NFL draft.
Here we have a prospect that some have discussed the Jets taking a look at in the middle rounds, so we take a look at him today.
We are looking at Duke Johnson, running back from the University of Miami.
Take a look at his stats to get started:
Rushing & Receiving
His sophomore year is missing from the Football Reference link, where he rushed for 920 yards on 145 carries, again an average of over six yards per carry. That season was cut short due to injury.
You know what you are getting with this guy. He ran for over six, and almost seven yards per carry each season. Johnson has a nose for the end zone, and can make an impact in the passing game as well.
Next: NFL Combine
Dec 27, 2014; Shreveport, LA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks linebacker Marquis Roberts (21) attempts to tackle in the first quarter against Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) in the 2014 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
At the NFL Combine, Duke Johnson ran the forty yard dash in 4.54 seconds. His vertical jump was 33.5 inches, and his broad jump was 121 inches. He measured in at 5’9″, 207 pounds. Here are the pros and cons:
STRENGTHS: Explosive burst and plays with suddenness. 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. Has great feel as zone-scheme, one-cut runner. Changes direction without breaking stride. Courageous runner. Shows no fear when getting downhill. Strong-willed competitor with toughness. Has second gear around the corner and can erase the angles. Gets small(er) through the hole and runs behind pads. Fights through arm tackles. Regroups and balances himself after initial contact. Reads and sets up routes and adjusts to poorly thrown balls.
WEAKNESSES: Average inside runner, where feel and instincts are concerned. Vision fails him at times when running between the tackles. Won’t always see initial hole and will mash turbo button, hoping to power through to second level. At times unwilling to do dirty work in pass protection. Looks for cut blocks rather than squaring up and playing with technique and toughness. Tries to run to daylight once in open field rather than just finishing runs. Hampered by injuries in 2014 and broke his ankle in 2013. Medicals will be combed over. Must improve ball security after fumbling six times over last two seasons.
Film and analysis on the next page.
Next: Film and Final Thoughts
I like this guy. Get Duke Johnson off the edge, he has the potential to be lethal. His first step is very fast, he can get out on the edge very quickly. He is a quality threat in the passing game as well. He has good hands and can tuck it away and go!
The only thing that is tough to watch is when Duke Johnson runs between the tackles. If the lane he wants is not there, he is slow to bounce off of the line and cut a different direction. As he goes through the lane, say on a draw, he has a tough time making his way through. It’s hard to hold that against Duke Johnson, though, because that isn’t his game. A guy at 5’9″ is not going to be a great between the tackles runner. He’s not big enough.
Duke Johnson must be used on the outside. On the edge, he is lethal, and that is what the Jets need. Let’s get Duke Johnson in here.