Quick Links

Redskins Draft Countdown: Northern Iowa RB David Johnson

david-johnson-head.png

Redskins Draft Countdown: Northern Iowa RB David Johnson

The NFL Draft is just over weeks away and I’ll continue researching the prospects throughout the lead-up to the draft. Along the way I’ll be sharing some of what I find out with Real Redskins readers. The focus will be on players in areas of need for the Redskins but I might look at players at just about any position since Scot McCloughan has said that he will take the best player available regardless of need.

David Johnson
Running back
Northern Iowa

What they’re saying:
What I liked:  Johnson is a big strong man who is tough to get down and a guy who runs well inside his scheme.  He is sturdy and a real workhouse who can do a lot of things well for you.  He can easily pass protect with his size and his receiving ability is absolutely top shelf.  He has great hands and is able to catch and run in an instant.  He also can stop on a dime and has some real jump cuts that are nice.  His 40-time at the combine was 4.5, which is more than fast enough at RB, and even more impressive, his 10-yard split of 1.58 was about as quick as you will see.

What I did not like:  The hardest part of looking at a runner at this level is trying to figure out what sort of level of competition he is working with and against.  He trucks a few linebackers in these games, but they do not appear to be of NFL quality by any stretch.  His quickness and explosiveness in-games does not reflect his amazing times.  There are stretches where he just doesn’t look like he has any turbo at all in his game.
Bob Sturum, Dallas Morning News

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins are looking for a third-down back and Johnson could be the best option for that job in the draft. Johnson, who some colleges talked to about being a wide receiver when recruiting him, caught at least 30 passes in all four of his seasons at Northern Iowa, a total of 141 receptions for an average of 12.3 yards and 14 touchdowns. No other running back prospect in this year’s draft has more than one season with 30 catches on his resume.

Johnson is more than just a scatback making a living on swing passes. He has good size (6-1, 224), speed (4.5 in the 40 including an impressive 10-yard split of 1.58), and athleticism (see the combine “spider web” from Mockdraftable.com above). Over the course of his career Johnson rushed for 4,682 yards including 1,553 last year.

Another factor going in Johnson’s favor is his kick return ability. He didn’t do it full time in college but last year he had 12 returns for an impressive 36.5-yard average with a touchdown. In the Senior Bowl he returned three kickoffs for a 27.3-yard average.

Potential issues: The biggest negative on Johnson’s ledger is where he played and whom he played against. Northern Iowa is in the FCS division (formerly known as 1-AA). When he breaks a tackle or turns on the jets and outruns a defender, you have to wonder what might have happened if the Panthers had been playing Ohio State or USC.

Bottom line: What the Redskins need to ponder here is similar to what I wrote about previously regarding Alabama’s T. J. Yeldon. If the Redskins are going to spend a top 100 selection on a running back—both Johnson and Yeldon are projected to be third-round picks—do they need to be fairly confident that the back they take can carry the load in case Alfred Morris in injured or if he leaves in free agency a year from now. A third-round pick does not necessarily have to be a starter but you want him to develop into more than just a situational player.

Johnson’s kick-return ability could help nudge his value up even if Scot McCloughan has some doubts about him being a workhorse back. But it will still come down to projecting how he can perform taking the big jump from FCS to the NFL. That will be the biggest challenge for McCloughan and the rest of the GM’s evaluating Johnson.

In his own words

Johnson on his pass catching ability:
Oh yeah, that’s something I work on a lot. One-on-one routes we would do every day in practice. After practice, I always tried to work on my routes with the receivers . . . In high school, I actually was a running back and wide receiver. Coming out of high school, because of my height and I was only about 180-190, a lot of colleges were talking to me about playing receiver. Going into college, all I was working on was receiving. My college actually recruited me as an athlete to play receiver. I played receiver for the first week of camp. That’s where it came from, training for that.
Previously in Draft Countdown:

Quick Links

Bruce Allen goes full Belichick when talking about Snapchat

Bruce Allen goes full Belichick when talking about Snapchat

When it comes to incorrectly identifying the names of social media platforms, Bill Belichick is the standard-bearer and industry leader. Examples of terms recently uttered by the head coach include gems like "MyFace" and "Yearbook," as the football icon has demonstrated he's somewhat aware of the sites and apps yet doesn't really care about them.

Bruce Allen, though, may have just laid claim to Belichick's crown. In a 1-on-1 interview with CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay, Allen discussed how he's not involved at all on social media and then proceeded to give Snapchat a glorious new name.

"I don't get to pay attention to everything," Allen told Finlay when asked if the team president keeps up with the constant rumors surrounding Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

"You're not on Twitter all the time?" Finlay interjected.

"No, I don't have Twitter," Allen answered, laughing, "and I'm not on Snapper-chapper or whatever it's called."

Allen was in the neighborhood by starting off with "Snap," but the rest of his attempt showed he's not exactly on the right street. Fortunately, unlike Belichick, Jay Gruden has gotten Snapchat's name right in the past, and could likely help Allen get used to the app if Allen ever decides to start using it.

MORE REDSKINS: JIM TOMSULA'S SNOT HAS CAUGHT BRUCE ALLEN'S EYE

Quick Links

What has Bruce Allen noticed so far about Jim Tomsula? His snot

What has Bruce Allen noticed so far about Jim Tomsula? His snot

By signing free agents Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain, Bruce Allen handed new Redskins defensive line coach Jim Tomsula two pieces that the assistant apparently had his eyes on.

"He gave us specific instructions of the type of defensive lineman he was looking for and who he thought could fit our new defensive scheme," Allen told CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay in a lengthy 1-on-1 interview at the owner's meetings in Phoenix.

So, after crossing those two names off of Tomsula's shopping list, what should Allen buy now for Tomsula? Well, after hearing the next part of Allen and Finlay's conversation, it sounds like a bunch of tissues would be appropriate.

MORE REDSKINS: THE TEAM SAYS THEY WANT TO KEEP COUSINS, BUT DO THEY MEAN IT?

"Have you seen any of the Tomsula clips from the Combine?" Finlay asked Washington's team president, referring to the drills that Tomsula led in very intense fashion. "He's got some scary looking eyes."

"I saw it from watching on the field," Allen responded. "If there's a close-up of him, I'm sure they saw some live snot somewhere in there."

Tomsula has been a part of the Redskins organization for barely more than two months, and he's already intentionally collided with one draft prospect and also impressed/shocked/worried one of his bosses with the amount of mucus his nose produces.

Long live Jim Tomsula.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!