NFL Draft Analysis: Jeremiah Johnson, RB, Oregon Ducks

by Trent Lujin on April 7, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


Having completed four seasons at the University of Oregon, running back Jeremiah Johnson will enter the 2009 NFL Draft. In four injury-plagued years with the Ducks, Johnson ran for 2,336 yards while scoring 30 touchdowns. His most productive was his senior year, in which he accounted for 1,201 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 7.1 yards per carry. 

Johnson tore an anterior cruciate ligament in 2007, which led to current Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart stealing the show from him, so Johnson definitely has NFL-caliber talent. 

Strengths

  • Patient runner, follows his blocks
  • Good quickness and deceiving open-field speed
  • Excellent balance, vision and cutback ability
  • Fabulous stiff arm
  • Can make plays as a return man
  • Soft hands as a receiver
  • Adequate pass protector

Weaknesses

  • Below-average size (5-foot-8 7/8, 209 pounds)
  • Lacks home run speed (4.62 40-yard dash at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine; improved his time to 4.57 at his March 19 Pro Day)
  • Major durability concerns
  • Bounces plays outside too often
  • Needs to acclimate himself to a pro-style offense

Expected draft placement

Concerns about Johnson's ability to be an every-down back coupled with durability issues have caused some teams to be leery. His speed versus size relationship isn't a plus, either. He does have some value in the return game however. As a result, it is most likely that Johnson will be a late second-day pick. 

Some teams that might look to target Johnson on the second day include: New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, but any team is a realistic bet that late in the draft. 

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About Trent Lujin

Lujin has been a KFFL contributor since 2008.

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