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NFL Draft 2015 Scouting Report: Duke Johnson

Duke Johnson is a shifty runner with outstanding vision. He's a true playmaker at the running back position.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports


Running Back




5'9, 206 pounds


Duke Johnson is an outstanding runner with lateral agility that would make most NFL runners jealous.  His ability to change direction quickly is what sets him apart.  He's very smooth when he does it too -- it almost looks effortless.  The run below is a great example.  He bounces it outside, then cuts inside twice.  Note the vision that Johnson shows here.  He processes the situation very quickly and is decisive in his lane choice.  Vision paired with agility is a dangerous thing.

His stop/start ability is pretty good too.  He's very elusive in the open field and can throw defenders for a loop with a quick juke.  His feet are very light and he can change directions in the blink of an eye.  The play below would be a loss for a lot of runners, but Duke redirects and is able to gain ten yards.

Just another plus to Johnson's game is his ability in the passing game.  He displays soft hands and looks to be a great route runner.  Getting Johnson in the open field will be a priority for the team he lands with in the NFL.  He will excel in the passing game from his first day on the job.


No doubt in my mind, the number one question facing Johnson is his durability.  He has a history of head injuries and suffered a season ending ankle injury in 2013.  He doesn't carry much weight, either.  At just 206 pounds, questions will continue to be raised on whether or not he can take the weekly beating in the NFL.

Johnson doesn't possess much power, if any.  This is an overrated aspect of runners everywhere, but he doesn't show much ability bounce off of too many tackles either.  This area just isn't his style.  He's going to beat you with burst and agility, rather than power and balance.


I think you can make a case for Johnson being a top three back in this class.  His combination of lateral agility and vision make him dangerous, no matter what his measurments are.  I thnk Johnson compares pretty nicely to Jamaal Charles, especially considering his abilities in the pass game.  I don't see him lasting for very long on day two.

Draft Projection