2015 NFL Draft Profile: David Johnson, RB Northern Iowa


 Northern Iowa running back David Johnson blew away folks at the combine with his athleticism and natural ability.  He excelled in every physical part of the event, including 40 yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3 cone drill and surprisingly, the bench press.  Teams and spectators were likely left in awe at the numbers that he put up that day.

However, not everything has to do with the numbers at the combine.  There are some things that could scare NFL teams a little about David Johnson going into the 2015 NFL Draft.  He runs with a high posture and he lacks the kind of breakaway speed that several other running backs in the draft class have.  He reminds me of Cedric Benson in the way that he carried the ball, smashing into lines without lowering his pads as often as he should, but with much softer hands as a receiver out of the backfield.

But his big, powerful body would be great in short yardage and perhaps working on his technique could improve the other areas of his game.  He achieved a lot of success at Northern Iowa, but that won’t translate well to the NFL level unless he’s willing to put the work in and change some major flaws in his technique. He’s a bruiser with the potential to develop into something more,

Jan 24, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad running back David Johnson of Northern Iowa (7) enters the field during player introductions before the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The North won, 34-13. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

Combine Measurables:

  • Height: 6’1″
  • Weight: 224 pounds
  • Arm Length: 31 1/4″
  • Hand Size: 9 5/8″
  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.50 seconds
  • Bench Press: 25 reps
  • Vertical Jump: 41.5″
  • Broad Jump: 127.0″
  • 3 Cone Drill: 6.82 seconds
  • 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.27 seconds

Draft Projection

 David Johnson is the #67 overall prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft according to CBS Sports and is their 7th ranked running back.  He’s projected to be a second to third round draft pick.

NFL Player Comparison

Fit For The Vikings

With the recent reinstatement of Adrian Peterson and the relative success of Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata along with the recent signing of former Packers RB DuJuan Harris, there really isn’t a huge need at running back for the Vikings.

My Take

As I’ve said with earlier running back evaluations, I can’t recommend that Minnesota use one of their picks in the first three rounds on a running back until there’s a change in the status of the current players on the roster.  However, David Johnson could still be in play in the 4th round or possibly earlier if there’s a change in level of need.

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