Hidden among the the changes going on in Denver, another roster move was made today when the Broncos signed RB Jeremiah Johnson to the Practice Squad. The slot opened up by the promotion of Lee Robinson to the playing roster. Johnson, who has bounced around the NFL the last couple of seasons, has been a member of the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers.
Jeremiah played his college ball at Oregon University along side Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart in a tandem rushing assault. In his senior year, Johnson had 168 carries for a team high 1201 yards. He was voted to the Second-team All-Pac-10 in 2008.
After going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, Johnson signed a free agent contract with the Houston Texans. The Texans were looking for a complement to Steve Slaton and brought in Johnson and Arian Foster for that purpose. Johnson made an impression on the Texans in training camp and preseason action before going down with a toe injury. With the impact Foster has had this year, Jeremiah lost the battle when he was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a separated shoulder on August 6.
Houston waived Johnson from IR with an injury settlement on September 11th. He was signed to the Washington Redskins' practice squad on October 26, 2010, and then released the very next day. After he was let go from the Redskins he had a tryout with the Packers. Jeremiah was then signed to the Carolina Panthers' practice squad on November 17, 2010, and released on December 2.
Assigned number 37 for the Broncos, Jeremiah Johnson is a 5' 9", 218 lb. Running Back. He has no regular season or postseason appearances and has been an Off-season and/or practice squad member only in his two years in the NFL. A Combine invitee in 2009, Johnson ran a 4.71 time in the Yard Dash, had 20 reps in the Bench Press, a Vertical Jump of 35 inches and a Broad Jump of 115 inches. He was projected as a 7th rounder for the 2009 draft.
Positives: Good muscular development in upper and lower bodies. Deceptively fast once in the open. Runs with a low center of gravity, bouncing and spinning off tacklers to maintain his balance. Excellent vision and the quickness to cut in either direction to take advantage of that space. Runs through arm tackles and keeps legs churning to get extra yardage outside or a first down inside. Natural hands, adjusting to high and low throws on screens. Stays in front of blitzers and twisting linemen in pass protection. Experienced at returning kickoffs, although he did not handle that duty in 2008 -- possibly to keep him healthy.
Negatives: Short and stout, but not as wide as other compact backs. Tends to dance or bounce outside, which won't work against the speed of NFL defenses, instead of bulling ahead for the needed yardage. Must prove he has the strength to be a short-yardage back. Gets tackled too easily when trying to sidestep defenders. Needs to adjust to a pro-style offense after playing his career in the spread, but Jonathan Stewart's early NFL success shows it's very possible.
Other than the toe and Shoulder injuries, Jeremiah Tore his right ACL while he was at Oregon in 2007. Johnson played in all 4 Pre-season games this year for the Texans and had 19 carries for 107 yards, a long of 27 yards and 1 catch for 6 yards.
He will have a chance to make an impression for the Broncos at a position that needs shoring up this offseason.