Duke Johnson Lacks Height But Not Short On Production

Name: Duke Johnson
Position: Running Back
College: Miami, Fla.    
Height/Weight: 5-9 / 207

Honors:  A first-team All-ACC running back in 2014 with 1,652 rushing yards, Johnson also earned second-team All-ACC honors in 2013.
Key stat: With 3,519 rushing yards, Johnson became the Hurricanes’ all-time leading rusher in just three seasons. In 2014, Johnson had six straight 100-yard games including 249 vs. Virginia Tech.

Where He’s Projected: Johnson appears to be a solid second-round pick, with the outside shot of slipping to the third. If the Cowboys don’t draft a back in the first round, the former Hurricanes standout seems to be a good fit at No. 60. Johnson is firmly in the second tier of backs with Tevin Coleman, Jay Ajayi, T.J. Yeldon and Ameer Abdullah.

How He Helps the Cowboys: Johnson could slide right into the Cowboys’ offensive plan as an immediate contributor. While he might not beat out Darren McFadden for the starting job right away, Johnson would be talented enough to garner 8-10 carries right away, with the ability and potential to become the eventual starter. He’s got good vision and power and catch the ball out of the backfield, making him a candidate for a third-down back, but he’s got to convince the club he can handle the blitz pick-ups as a blocker.

Scout’s Take: Plays as a one back runner. Doesn’t have many opportunities where there is just a clear hole. Has the quickness and burst to cut back if hole not there. Can make men miss in the hole. Rare foot work with the ball in his hands. Start-Stop quickness is outstanding. Can make a cut and not lose speed. If nothing is there not afraid to run up the back of his blockers. Nice zone runner to make the cuts. Protects the ball in traffic. Can weave through the tacklers. Explodes off his plant foot. Can turn a negative play into a positive one. Just needs a little crack. Will sneak out of the backfield on the check down. Can turn the corner on the toss. Will bounce off tacklers. Balance. Wheel routes and screens. Catches the ball on the swing. Can adjust. Is a weapon in the open space. Didn’t make low adjust in flat. Cut block on the edge. Will come across the pocket to help. Size limits what he can do on pass blocking. Ideal scheme fit for the Cowboys in that he is accustom to running the type of plays where he takes the ball on the angle then explodes through the hole. Could easily see him going late in the second round on talent alone but his lack of height might scare some teams to look at other options for the position. Bryan Broaddus

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