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Draft Prospect File: Miami (Fla.) RB Duke Johnson



There's a lot to like about Johnson's work at Miami: persistence, explosion between the tackles and outside as a receiving target in the flat, above-average footwork and quickness to the edge.

Johnson is usually a patient runner. I offer that description carefully, because I studied far more examples of him perfectly hitting the gaps on stretch plays than sprinting to the line of scrimmage before his blocks developed. There were plays where his speed instincts got the best of him, and he arrived too fast -- but these were in the minority.

That patience -- followed by a decisive cut and acceleration when the hole presented itself -- could lend itself to a zone-based blocking scheme. He's a classic one-cut-and-go runner.

"It matches with a zone scheme because everyone is flowing, you see a seam, want to hit it as fast as you can," Johnson said.

Last year, his production was consistent: he never ran for less than 88 yards, and always averaged at least 4.8 yards per carry. The only time he didn't rack up at least 100 yards from scrimmage was in a Nov. 6 blowout win over FCS Florida A&M, when he had just nine carries.

Johnson deflected concerns about his injury history -- including nagging issues last year -- by playing all 13 games last year, and appeared to get stronger as the season progressed. He had 31 touches twice in a three-game stretch against Virginia Tech (Oct. 23) and Florida State (Nov. 15), racking up 286 and 167 yards from scrimmage, respectively, in those games.


On the field, one issue for Johnson is his fumble rate -- one every 73.83 touches (rushes, receptions and kickoff returns) the last two years.

At the Combine, Johnson wore a single pink bandage below his left eye to honor the mother of one of his friends. She survived two bouts with breast cancer. "I'm wearing it for her and anyone who is fighting and surviving," Johnson said.


Weight:207 pounds
Arm:30 3/8 inches (T-23rd among 36 Combine RBs)
Hand:9 1/4 inches (T-20th among 36 Combine RBs)
40-yard dash:4.54 seconds (8th among 30 Combine RBs)
Vertical jump:33.5 inches (T-20th among 32 Combine RBs)
Broad jump:12 feet, 1 inch (T-5th among 32 Combine RBs)

PROJECTION: Rounds 2-3.

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