The Cleveland Browns have an incredibly versatile weapon in Duke Johnson and the running back wants to switch to receiver full-time, but should he?
A third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns out of Miami in 2015, Duke Johnson has developed into quite the weapon. He’s a competent change of pace back who averages 4.2 yards per rush but is even more dangerous catching the ball.
Running routes out of the backfield and in the slot has led to Johnson becoming one of the most targeted players on the team. He led the team in both receptions and yards in 2017 when he brought in 74 passes for 693 yards.
Now with the team bringing in Carlos Hyde via free agency and Nick Chubb in the draft, there’s been some question about how the team will get Johnson involved. If it were up to him, it would be as a full-time receiver.
Duke has reportedly been lobbying head coach Hue Jackson for the chance to play the position more, saying he enjoys being both in the slot and as an outside receiver.
"“I want to be a slot receiver,” Duke Johnson said via Labbe. “I’d rather be a slot receiver than a running back, 100 percent.”"
For the Browns, the question becomes whether such a move would be wise. They did add Jarvis Landry in the offseason, who shines as a slot receiver.
However, Landry has been wanting to run a larger route tree than what he did with the Miami Dolphins. Maybe putting Johnson on the field more can allow that to happen.
It could also be difficult for teams to deal with Landry in the slot, with Johnson lined up out wide, while the most interesting package could be a four-receiver set with both Duke and Landry in the middle.
Maybe such a move would be smart by the Browns as getting Johnson on the field as much as possible seems like a great idea. However, don’t expect him to never see the backfield again, because a weapon like that needs to be used anywhere he can be a factor.