One player who may interest the Denver Broncos on day two in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft is Texas running back Roschon Johnson. He is a 6’0”, 219-pound running back who is one of the more physical backs in the draft and offers third-down potential as well. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has Johnson ranked as his seventh-best running back in the draft and as the 91st overall player in the draft. Right now, Brugler is projecting Johnson to go in the third round of the draft.
Johnson played a total of four seasons at Texas and was a productive back for the Longhorns during his time there. During his four seasons, he had 392 carries for 2,190 yards, and 23 career rushing touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. He also had 56 career receptions for 420 yards and 3 touchdowns. This past season, he totaled 93 carries for 554 yards and 5 touchdowns while averaging 6.0 yards per carry with an additional 14 receptions for 128 yards and 1 touchdown.
Roschon Johnson’s career at Texas:— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 10, 2023
139 Missed Tackles Forced
90.9 PFF Grade pic.twitter.com/HiTCCVY9rW
Weight: 219 pounds
40-time: 4.58 seconds
Arm Length: 32”
Hands: 9 5/8”
Vertical Jump: 31.5 inches
Broad Jump: 10’2 inches
- A big physical back with broad shoulders and with a strong lower and upper half
- A physical runner who finishes his runs and falls forward
- A patient runner who is able to read the field and find cut-back lanes
- Known for being one of the better backs to break tackles
- Only had one career fumble throughout his career
- Has quick feet and is able to move well in small spaces
- Excellent pass blocker
- Reliable receiver out of the backfield
- Likely a better NFL back than college back
- Low mileage on his legs because of his lack of carries
- A key member of Texas’s special teams unit and played in all phases of that game
- Vocal leader and a good culture guy for the locker room
- Not overly explosive and lacks that extra gear
- Never asked to be a feature back and played primarily behind top back Bijan Robinson
- Sometimes takes too long behind his blocks
- Runs a little tall
- Lacks the elite twitch to be a dynamic running back
- Needs to develop his route tree as a receiver
Roschon Johnson RAS
Roschon Johnson is a RB prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 8.64 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 223 out of 1634 RB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/VGVugMCYX2 #RAS pic.twitter.com/COjgAhhyLo— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 16, 2023
What other analysts are saying about Texas running back Roschon Johnson
Primarily a backup at Texas, Johnson was a complimentary back in head coach Steve Sarkisian’s spread RPO offense. A high school quarterback, he moved to running back as a Longhorns freshman and played second fiddle to Bijan Robinson but embraced his role in the program and was a central part of the culture shift under the new coaching staff (Sarkisian: “What this guy brings every single day is pretty incredible. He’s so mature. Unbelievable work ethic. Awesome teammate…he’s got the utmost respect of everybody in our building, that is for sure.”). A stout, good-sized runner, Johnson is a two-way creator with his lateral cuts to elude tacklers and the forward momentum to power through contact. With his football character and ability on special teams and as a blocker, his impact without the football is almost as impressive as his ability with the ball. Overall, Johnson is high-cut and can be inconsistent with his run rhythm, but he is a quick-footed, physical ball carrier with valuable third-down skills as a pass-catcher and blocker. He should immediately upgrade an NFL team’s running back rotation and be a core special teamer. - The Athletic’s Dane Brugler
Power back with bruising frame who fits the football cliche of “tough, smart and dependable.” Johnson isn’t overly creative and lacks the juice to hit quick-closing NFL holes. He needs it blocked up so he can get downhill and uncork his power on the second level. While his lack of suddenness makes him somewhat limited as a runner, he will be better at stuffing blitzers than many of the No. 3 backs currently in the league. Johnson might be fighting off competition every year in camp, but his toughness and four-phase special teams value could give him an advantage. - NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
While not being a sexy back with a fast 40-time and a fun highlight reel, Texas running back Roschon Johnson checks a lot of boxes. The Broncos this offseason have signed a bunch of big physical guys who are good for the locker room and will help rebuild their culture. Also, head coach Sean Payton has emphasized blocking, toughness and special teams play and Roschon Johnson checks every single box.
Here are a few advanced stats via @PFF on Texas RB Roschon Johnson:— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) April 3, 2023
100th percentile missed tackles forced/attempt rate
100th percentile zone grade
98th percentile rushing grade
92nd percentile yards after contact grade pic.twitter.com/uUFqtysIvd
He is likely a north-south power runner in the NFL who can catch passes out of the backfield. However, he adds third-down potential with his pass-blocking skills and pass-catching skills. Add in that he will likely be a member of the special teams unit because of his background there. He just seems like a player that coaches will love while also being a productive player on the field as well.
Brugler has a third-round grade on him but apparently, some teams have a second-round grade on Johnson and it makes sense. He is a low mileage back with great character and a physical running style who can contribute right away to whoever drafts him. His stat line is not great either, but he was productive in limited snaps and was playing behind a likely top 5 pick in Bijan Robinson. So, that will lower his numbers a bit.
If available, I could see the Broncos considering him with one of their third-round selections. He would be a valuable addition to their backfield rotation and could earn some early season snaps, if drafted by the Broncos, with Javonte Williams recovering from a major knee injury.