Cleveland Browns: 15 best running backs of all-time

Full back Mike Pruitt #43 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Full back Mike Pruitt #43 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /
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Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns
Duke Johnson #29 of the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

2015-present. Duke Johnson. 9. player. 53. . RB

Here we again have a player who is currently on the Browns as Duke Johnson cracks the top-10 roster. On the surface, Johnson isn’t the most accomplished running back — but that has more to do with the team not using him in that role.

Johnson has carried the ball less than 100 times in every season except for his rookie year — but he still is above four-yards per attempt in his four-year career. While that average is good, it’s not his work as a ball carrier that makes him a threat.

Where Johnson makes his mark is as a receiver. The speedy back out of the University of Miami came into the league with great skill as a route runner. He also displays soft hands and an ability to make defenses pay with yards after the catch.

Johnson is actually on pace for his least productive season as a receiver, but a lot of that has to do with former head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley criminally misusing him. He was struggling to even see the field with those two. Johnson quickly became a factor by scoring three touchdowns in the first two games with them out of town.

It was frustrating to see the Browns keeping him sidelined after what Duke did in 2017. On a 0-16 team, it’s hard to find a bright spot but Johnson was exactly that. He was their top receiver with 693 yards and three touchdowns off 74 receptions. He even petitioned Jackson to move him to receiver this season, but that request was declined.

Moving forward, look for Johnson to continue to serve as a weapon in the passing game — while also being used as a change of pace back behind Nick Chubb. While Chubb will eventually pass Johnson on this list if he continues to run at the pace he is, Johnson can still climb higher himself should he continue to make the most out of every touch as he has to this point in his young career.