2018 Raiders Prospect Profile
Name: Kerryon Johnson
School: University of Auburn
Weight: 215 pounds
Round Projection: 2-3
Kerryon Johnson is a talented rusher. It was evident in his two home game performances against Georgia and Alabama this past season. Both defenses were stacked with NFL talent and Johnson carried the ball 62 times for 271 yards and one touchdown. Not to mention, another five receptions for 87 yards and a TD. Johnson has smooth cutting ability but can also run downhill with authority to punish the defense. On the same token, the former Auburn star was hesitant at times in games, instead of using his vision to find and hit the hole. That type of doubt will not work at the next level.
The 2017 SEC Offensive Player of the Year is extremely strong and displays a quick burst through the hole. Johnson’s speed (4.52 40-yard) is up there with the other top running back prospects in this draft. Johnson is rarely tackled on first contact and uses his lower body strength to always fall forward for the extra yard. Because of his aggressive style though, Johnson did battle a shoulder injury late in the season.
Johnson is a sufficient receiver, but needs to work on extending his hands on passes instead of allowing the ball to reach his body. He was very successful running the screen game and was patient with his blockers. As far as a pass blocker, Johnson uses his big frame and quick feet to hold his own in pass protection. Nevertheless, he will need to lower his stance and improve his technique to adjust to the NFL quality defender.
It is no secret; the Raiders are in need of a future running back. Marshawn Lynch, who will turn 32 in April, is in the last year of his two-year contract. In a draft loaded with running backs, both Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden will have some nice options in the second and third rounds. If the Raiders are able to address other needs with their first two picks and Johnson is available in round three, make the pick. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are nice change-of-pace backs, but Johnson offers a combination of physical presence and running ability not matched by Richard and Washington.