Cleveland Browns: Duke Johnson remains a bright spot in 2017
Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson was given an award by local writers, causing some to wonder how great he can be if given more chances.
Cleveland Browns fans have seen flashes of success from Duke Johnson Jr. in 2017, but Hue Jackson has not given the man enough chances to really stand out as a star in the NFL.
The 0-15 record doesn’t help either.
Even with his limited touches on offense, Johnson was named Player of the Year by the local chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America, according to an article on clevelandbrowns.com.
Johnson has 328 rushing yards on only 76 attempts this season, but he leads the team in receiving with 68 receptions and 618 yards. In fact, it isn’t even a close race. The next closest in both categories is Seth DeValve, who has 33 receptions for 395 yards.
Duke stands out as a top talent on this team, but it remains incredibly frustrating to see him used so sparingly. He is dynamic in the running game, yet averages just over five carries per game. The same problem could result in Isaiah Crowell leaving town after this season.
Johnson’s production in the receiving game is nice, but one can wonder just how great he could be if there was other talent on the field. Imagine if Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman played like Pro Bowlers, and there was a decent quarterback under center. Maybe this would even allow him to get double-digit carries one time. One can dream.
Johnson is under contract next season and it will be interesting to see if the front office offers him a contract extension. He has come out and said he likes playing in Cleveland, but it would be hard to imagine a guy with his potential staying in a place where he isn’t utilized properly.
Then again, as the above quote shows, some players are loyal and want to work toward making their team great. Joe Thomas is like this, and Browns fans are lucky that Johnson appears to be the same way.
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He has remained positive and earned his Player of the Year award, and should be a major piece of the supposed turnaround fans are waiting for next season. And with Crowell potentially not returning, 2018 may be Johnson’s year to take that next step.