2015 NFL Draft: Grading the Browns Pick of Duke Johnson


Nov 1, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (center) celebrates his touchdown with tight end Clive Walford (left) and offensive lineman Jon Feliciano (right) during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns added three more players to the roster during the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

With their second selection of the evening, general manager Ray Farmer selected Miami running back Duke Johnson.

Johnson was a First-Team All-ACC selection in 2014 and left Miami as the school’s all-time leading rusher (3,519 yards after rushing for 1,652 yards in his final season with the Hurricanes.

He also averaged 31.8 yards on 41 kickoff returns, an area that the Browns can also use help with.

“He’s got a complete skillset that can affect our roster in multiple ways,” Farmer told the team’s website. “We love the fact that he’s quick and agile, well balanced. One of my favorite things that I’ve watched is when you watch the kid run through trash and if guys are on the ground, he can jump over people, hit the ground and still make a cut and keep balance. A lot of good things we like from him that he brings to the table.”

The 5-foot-9, 207-pound Johnson is an explosive play-maker that will add some depth and change of pace to the one-two punch of Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. Last season, West and Crowell helped the Browns average 108 rushing yards a game as they combined for 1,280 yards and 12 touchdowns as rookies.

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“I know there are two young backs like myself. As far as me coming in, I am just going to do to the best of my ability to come in and work hard, day in and day out and get better and allow them to get better, as well,” Johnson told the team’s website. “At the end of the day, the coaches make the decision on who is going to be the starter based off of practice and things like that. All I can do is work hard and push myself and help push other guys and bring them along with me.

“I think I am unpredictable. I’m a one-cut kind of guy, hit a hole and see it. I can make things happen, very versatile out of the backfield. I can line up at receiver and create mismatches out of the backfield.”

While the Browns struggled at times to make three running backs work, the addition of Johnson to the returning Crowell and West should be a positive for the team.

Grade: B

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