The Cleveland Browns selected University of Miami running back Duke Johnson with the No. 77 pick in the NFL Draft’s third round on Friday night. FOX Sports Ohio’s Zac Jackson was again the first to report the news on Twitter well before the selection.
The electric 5-foot-9 Johnson, who left after his junior season, was the star of the Hurricanes offense this past season. He had 2,073 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns, smashing several Miami school records. He had 130 rushing yards in the team’s narrow loss to Florida State and had a massive 249-yard day against Virginia Tech.
Our very own Joe Gilbert had Johnson as his No. 3 running back, ahead of Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, players taken before him on Day 2 of the draft.
From Joe in February after the Scouting Combine: “Duke Johnson of Miami ran a 4.54 second 40-yard dash. He is a quick running back who makes defenders miss in the open field.” In April, Gilbert noted he had the best agility and was the best receiver out of the RB class.
Johnson’s size makes durability a question mark, certainly. But as a change-of-pace back and a versatile receiver, he seems to be an immediately good fit alongside incumbents Isaiah Crowell and Terrence West. Obviously, many will still be beckoning for the Browns to pick up another receiver by the end of the draft. Yet Johnson still can be a huge boost to the Browns offense early on.
Browns 2015 Draft
No. 12 (Round 1) – Danny Shelton, DT, Washington
No. 19 (Round 1) – Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State
No. 51 (Round 2) – Nate Orchard, DE/LB, Utah
No. 77 (Round 3) – Duke Johnson, RB, Miami (FL)
No. 96 (Round 3) – Xavier Cooper, DT, Washington State
No. 115 (Round 4) – Ibraheim Campbell, S, Northwestern
No. 123 (Round 4) – Vince Mayle, WR, Washington State
No. 189 (Round 6) – Charles Gaines, CB, Louisville
No. 195 (Round 6) – Malcolm Johnson, TE, Mississippi State
No. 198 (Round 6) – Randall Telfer, TE, USC