2015 NFL Draft Profile: Duke Johnson, RB Miami


 Miami running back Duke Johnson is another one of those players that draft experts seem to wildly disagree on.  Some see a possible feature back with all the skills to succeed while others see a player in need of a committee to help take the pressure off him.  The one thing that everyone sees when looking at Johnson is his ability to play at a very high level when healthy.

There is no doubting his explosiveness.  He can change directions and accelerate very quickly to squeeze through even some of the tiniest holes.  He’s also a very determined runner who will fight for every single yard when the opportunity presents itself.  Johnson also excels in the pass game, where he is a great receiver out of the backfield.

However, there is concern about the durability of Duke Johnson.  There is also the fact that he struggles when asked to block in passing situations.  Part of this is due to his small size and limited vision over the line of scrimmage.  He also has an established medical history, breaking his ankle in 2013 and dealing with multiple problems through his 2014 campaign.  Teams will have to take that risk with him if they decide to select him in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Oct 4, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) prepares for a game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Combine Measurables:

  • Height: 5’9″
  • Weight: 207 pounds
  • Arm Length: 30 3/8″
  • Hand Size: 9 1/4″
  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.54 seconds
  • Bench Press: N/A
  • Vertical Jump: 33.5″
  • Broad Jump: 121.0″
  • 3 Cone Drill: N/A
  • 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A

Draft Projection

Duke Johnson is the #57 overall prospect according to CBS Sports and is their #5 running back available in the 2015 NFL Draft.  He is projected to be a second round pick.

NFL Player Comparison

Fit For The Vikings

At the moment, running back isn’t a need for Minnesota.  However, anything can happen in the NFL and the Vikings will need to have done some research on the position if Adrian Peterson doesn’t end up on the team’s roster for the 2015 NFL Season.

My Take

I like Duke Johnson quite a bit and really think that if he’s not asked to handle the entire weight of the running game that he can be a very effective runner at the NFL level.  However, right now I can’t feel confident recommending a running back to the Vikings in the first two rounds of the draft until a major need opens up at the position.  Because of that, I’d pass on Johnson during the 2015 NFL Draft unless he drops to the third round.

**Updated for content on 4/8/15

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