Pros: Has good speed (faster than he times) who is dangerous in space, and a threat to take it the distance. Has nice power for his size, keeps his feet moving after contact, and has a nice stiff arm. Runs with good balance and patience. Cuts very well with good burst and elusive in the open ﬁeld. Does a nice job in trafﬁc due to his elusiveness and vision, as well as showing good footwork to avoid the hit. Is a capable receiver that is very good on screens.
Cons: Doesn't crave contact, and not really a major threat to break many tackles. Has limited experience in pass protection, since he's primarily a receiver out of the backﬁeld. Dances a bit too much, spending too much time going laterally and backwards rather than forward. Durability may be a concern.
Overview: Johnson's on-ﬁeld speed is probably closer to 4.45 than the near-4.6 that he timed at. He's a playmaker that worked very well in Oregon's spread attack, being the lightning to Jonathan Stewart's thunder a year ago. Led team with 1,201 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior, his lone year as being the primary ballcarrier. Suffered a torn ACL midway through his junior year, and battled other injury problems as a senior. Has some experience as both a kickoff and punt returner from his freshman and sophomore seasons.
NFL Forecast: If he can stay healthy, I believe he can be a lead back in the NFL. Won't really be a 20-carry guy, but reminds me of a lesser version of Chris Johnson. Not as explosive and fast as Chris Johnson, but similar home run-hitting running style. He'll work best in a zone scheme like he ran behind at Oregon, and probably is best only getting 10-15 carries a game. If he can show things in pass protection, should make a solid third down back. Is a good receiver. Johnson is probably a backup for most NFL teams, but if he's platooned with a more physical runner, he would form a very nice 1-2 combo like Chris Johnson and LenDale White form.
ATL Forecast: Johnson would be a solid addition in Atlanta, but probably wouldn't get a ton of playing time early on as he'll be buried behind Turner and Norwood. But eventually, should be able to take over the third down duties from Norwood because he's a superior runner and more capable of running inside and outside. I would expect by his second or third season, Johnson would be a productive backup in Atlanta. Probably would never be a starter, but a solid No. 2 rusher.
Value: Johnson is a second round talent, but probably his durability issues make him a better ﬁt in the third round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Scouting Reports of running backs and fullbacks in the 2009 draft.
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