3 Cleveland Browns to watch in Preseason Week 3 vs. Tampa Bay
Running back D’Ernest Johnson
The Cleveland Browns running back room has been a revolving door of issues over the past several weeks. Whether it be Duke Johnson’s trade, Kareem Hunt’s injury and eventual return, and Dontrell Hilliard’s hamstring injury, there has not been a lot of consistency at the position.
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But the one player who has been able to thrive with all of the movement at the position is D’Ernest Johnson, who is the leading rusher for the Browns in the preseason. Johnson has 15 carries for 76 yards, with his longest carry going for 15 yards. He has also caught three receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown.
At the start of the preseason, Johnson’s status on the Browns roster was rather unknown. But he has proven to be an effective runner when he gets the ball in his hands, hitting holes with great quickness to gain yards.
With his strong start to the preseason, Johnson appears to be in good position to make the 53-man roster to start the season. But with how well he has run the ball and Hilliard’s disappointing performance in the preseason opener and hamstring injury, Johnson has a chance to emerge as the Browns No. 2 running back.
Johnson may not get as many opportunities in the backfield against the Buccaneers if Nick Chubb and Hunt play most of the first half. But if Johnson gets most of the second half snaps, he will have a chance to show off his playmaking abilities.