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Duke Johnson 2015 NFL Draft scouting report

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The Miami running back is worthy of playing all three downs on offense, assuming he can rein in his fumbling habits.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

All of Buffalo Rumblings' 2015 NFL Draft coverage can be found in our NFL Draft section. These scouting reports are part of our 2015 NFL Draft big board, which is also available under the "Library" header on our site's navigation bar.

Duke Johnson

  • Position: Running back (RB)
  • Class: Junior
  • College: Miami (FL)
  • Ht/Wt: 5'9", 205 pounds

Scouting Report

Duke Johnson is a back that loves him some space. Great stiff-arms and excellent cutting ability make him a dangerous threat in the open field. Johnson is a smaller back who's not the quickest starter or the strongest stepper on a play (we're talking athleticism, here). That being said, he does a great job making something out of every play, and he can scoot through gaps in the line for major gains. He accelerates well to a great top speed when given some room.

Johnson has great vision and processes things very quickly, finding gaps where he can gain extra yardage. He has a weakness in his ball carrying; between a holding stance that can get a bit sloppy and not having the best strength in his arms, he is susceptible to fumbles.

As a receiver, Johnson has some experience with different routes and has split wide a few times. He is dangerous after the catch, with that aforementioned combination of vision, processing speed, and cutting ability earning him bunches of extra yards. He does tend to round out his routes a little, and that's something he'll work on. Johnson has some blocking experience and is good with cut blocking, but is a little small to be relied on full-time as a pass protector.

Grade

Johnson doesn't strike me as a back with the best short-area quickness or strength, and his fumbling issues will still be a cause for concern, but I love the combination of tools that he brings to the field. He's a dangerous player that can run between the tackles and could catch 50 passes in a season. I think he'll have an adjustment period to the NFL, where the game speeds up and he doesn't have quite as much room to run, but he shows an excellent judgment for where and when to go forward on a play. I have him ranked between the second and the third round of this draft, and he's yet another exciting running back in this loaded class.