Duke Johnson looking explosive at Browns OTAs
Jun/08/15 09:20 PM Filed in: Duke Johnson
Joe Thomas loves what he sees from rookie running back Duke Johnson so far.
The Browns' third-round pick out of Miami is showing patience and burst that already has Thomas thinking more explosion will be seen from an offense that ranked 23rd in the NFL last season.
"He read his blocks perfectly, he saw the seam, he was patient," Thomas said of Johnson, per the team's official site. "That’s what you need as a running back. I hope we see that as the season goes on. I think you are going to see a more explosive offense this year."
Head coach Mike Pettine remembers one run during Tuesday's practice in particular.
"(If) we weren’t playing flag football, that would have been a 40- or 50-yard chunk," Pettine said. "I think we’ve all seen what he can bring – the explosiveness and how we can turn a handoff or a short pass into a significant gain with a back like that.”
Johnson joins a young backfield headed by Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell, both coming off solid rookie campaigns. While last year's "Baby Backs" figure to get the lion's share of the carries, Johnson can be used as a weapon all over the field, including special teams.
"I'm a change-of-pace back. I can line up anywhere," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to the different ways they use me as a receiver or the backfield. Whatever it takes. Punts, kicks. I think that's something we look forward to doing."