Inside Scoop: A Closer Look on Duke Johnson Coming to the Houston Texans
Patrick D. Starr
The Houston Texans made a trade for Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson. It comes with plenty of discussion points for now and the future but what exactly are the Texans getting in the veteran pass-catching running back?
We asked Jeff Risdon, the managing editor on the Browns Wire his thoughts on Johnson and the trade to the Texans.
What does Duke Johnson bring as a football player?
JR: Johnson is a great receiver out of the backfield. He even lined up as the full-time slot receiver for games at a time in 2017. He's got soft hands and runs routes like a receiver. He does have some value as a return man, but that has not been utilized in Cleveland.
Why did Duke Johnson Want Out?
JR: He demanded a trade almost immediately after the team signed Kareem Hunt. He was too expensive to be the No. 3 RB and the team likes Dontrell Hilliard in the same role as a younger/cheaper version
Is being a pass-catcher his best attribute, and where does he land in pass protection?
JR: Definitely. I often talked of (Johnson) as a slot receiver playing RB. His pass pro is reliable, and he's a smart football player in terms of recognizing assignments. In his time with DeShone Kizer at QB, he did learn to play as a receiver with a mobile QB and was handily the team's top receiver.
What are worries with Johnson's game?
JR: He's not decisive or powerful at all as a runner. While he's fast, he's not instantly fast and will dance behind the line instead of attacking. He has had intermittent fumbling issues. As a reserve RB, he does not play special teams unless he's the return man, which can be a problem for depth.
Is this a place of Johnson to thrive?
JR: He's a very different type of back from Foreman, and if the Texans were looking to add a better passing game option at running back, they got arguably one of the best in the league. He's always been a good teammate and team player even after demanding a trade. If he's getting more carries than receptions, it's probably not going to go too well.
Do you like the deal for the Texans giving up a 4th round selection?
JR: That's a steep price. The Browns have been shopping him for months, and I can't imagine the offers were this high before the move, otherwise, the Browns would have dealt him. It strikes me as a bit of a panic move, but he can make it worthwhile. I would have given a 5th that escalates to a 4th, so it's not a huge leap.
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