Author’s Note: This blog was written in March of 2015 on an old blog of mine, yet I feel compelled to share it with you now, given the success of DJ. Enjoy!
I am a complete draft geek. I watch every second of each Senior Bowl practice, Scouting Combine drill, and completely immerse myself in gaining knowledge about the draft class. Each year, I end up falling in love with a few prospects. For example, in the 2014 class, my two favorite players were Aaron Donald and Jason Verrett, by far. I was already aware of Donald’s study career at Pitt, and his combine confirmed my high thoughts on his next level future, while Verrett’s performances in the combine drills left me amazed. This year, a few WR’s make that list. I have always loved Dorial Green-Beckham’s talent, and I believe that if he is able to stay clean, he offers ridiculous value as a 2nd round pick. Contrasty, I have been very impressed with Justin Hardy throughout his entire East Carolina career, and I like his future. Seeing him run through the gauntlet and the combine, was breathtaking, and I think his steady hands make him a good day 2 selection. However, no other prospect even remotely compares to my crush on David Johnson. Truthfully, I had never heard of the player until the Senior Bowl. Yet, watching him over the course of the entire week in Mobile left me in awe. Pair that with his numbers at the combine, and I am fully in love. Johnson was extraordinarily productive at Northern Iowa, as a receiver and running back. He possesses a great frame, as he stands 6’1” and 225 lbs. He has the great combination of a sturdy running base that can withstand great wear and tear, and incredible hands and agility that can make him deadly in space. Perhaps most surprising to me was that he ran a 4.50 40 yard dash, good for a top 5 time among the backs in the class! This ability was put on display all week at the Senior Bowl, where he took home top RB honors, and in the game, where he was responsible for a long touchdown. Let’s compare with another RB that is rated higher by most, Ameer Abdullah. While Ameer is more agile, Johnson ran faster by an entire tenth in the 40, and is even better in the aspect most beneficial for Abdullah, catching the football. Pair that with Ameer’s slight frame, and constant injury risk, and I do not even think the two are close. I even like DJ far more than likely first round pick, Melvin Gordon. I think Gordon is a product of that Wisconsin O-line (see: Ron Dayne, Monte Ball, John Clay), and does not provide nearly the versatility of Johnson. I have David Johnson ranked as the 2nd best RB in the class, only a tad behind Todd Gurley (which is saying a lot because I think Gurley is phenomenal), and miles ahead of my 3rd rated back. I am not one that believes running backs should be drafted in the 1st round, but I would have no problem if a team drafted DJ in the top 20 picks of the entire draft. I see him comparing favorably to Demarco Murray, and being a consistent Pro-Bowler. Heck, I truly would not be surprised if he ends up in Canton. I LOVE this guy, and you should too.