Duke Johnson or LJ Scott? What’s to compare? Duke has been an amazing player for the Cleveland Browns, right?
Those numbers are insane and look more like Kareem Hunt numbers as a pro. Fast forward four years into the future and we see that Duke running the ball in the NFL hasn’t been awful by any means, but if you have eyes and a brain, you know in your heart of hearts that Duke cannot run between the tackles.
Johnson caught more passes than Rashard Higgins last year and has a better catch percentage than Higgins. This alone would be enough reason to keep Duke on the team, right? To me, that all depends on what you value in your running back, the ability to run effectively or catch consistently because in this case, Duke cannot do both well.
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His 4.3 yards per carry average is deceiving because they don’t call his number going between the tackles. Also, his production declined in a big way last year to the tune of 87 total touches in 2018, while coming off a career year in 2017 with 82 carries and 74 catches. He has not totaled over 1,000 all-purpose yards except in 2017 when the team didn’t win a game.
Looking at Duke and what he has done for Cleveland, it has not produced wins, or improved the team in any significant way. Being a huge fan of the U, this hurts for me to say it, but it’s time to move on from a man who has not benefited a team who is projecting sky high.
If the Browns keep Duke, he should be utilized as a receiver and with doing that means a pass catcher from one of the best receiving corps in the league will go without. Why mess up a good thing?
L.J. Scott in the poor mans Nick Chubb. Coming out of college Chubb had plenty more production in the SEC that Scott has had in the Big Ten, but Scott is more of a pass catcher than Chubb. Now, I’m not saying that he is a dynamic pass catcher out of the backfield by any means, only better than Chubb coming out of college.
Why does Scott deserve a chance to make the Browns? He can do what is required of a running back. He can run between the tackles, with power, he can catch out of the backfield. What more could you possibly want?
He has the ability to get those short yards you need, when you need it. I feel he can develop very nicely in a backfield room with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in it. His weak spots can be turned around and he can look to contribute early if the team decides to move on from Duke Johnson or Dontrell Hilliard.
Scott was hailed as the next Le’Veon Bell before he was injured in his Senior season. I feel he flew under the radar but has the tools to be a decent backup in the NFL.
UPDATE: L.J. Scott has reportedly left the team and decided to quit football.