One of the more underappreciated RB’s in college football, Storm Johnson has been a consistent and effective running back. Johnson, while not having the most elite speed, is able to make big plays both in the passing game and running game. Playing with Blake Bortles has helped garner more attention for Johnson, but still he’s seen as one of the later round RB’s due to some of his main issues including his vision. Below I’ll take a look at what Johnson does well and what he needs to improve on to be a successful RB in the NFL.
Instead of breaking it down to multiple small categories, I’ve decided to focus directly on passing and running ability and talking about the different parts regarding each. Looking at Johnson on film, you see flashes of someone who can be very successful, but also it’s his vision that can cause issues for Johnson. It’s a very inconsistent trait that shows up on film for Johnson and leads to him making cuts that he shouldn’t. Watching Johnson vs Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, Johnson would make an impressive cut where he would see the cut back lane and gain extra yardage, then would try to make another cut and would end up cutting right back to the defender. When Johnson doesn’t worry as much about cutting back and going for the big play every time, he’s quite a consistent runner who gets yards and in times in bunches.
What I really like about Johnson on film is how fiery and deliberate that he is when he chooses to run downhill. Johnson will barrel over defenders and make defenders pay for trying to get in his way. If Johnson can work on playing in control and finding the cut lanes instead of forcing himself to make the cuts then he can have a chance to really make his name in the NFL with his physical style
While I complain a lot about the little things with Johnson in the running game, the pass catching ability of him isn’t something I’m very worried about. When you sit down and watch the film, you see someone who sets up the screens well and will make good plays when receiving out of the backfield. Johnson displays solid and consistent hands, which will become a positive in the NFL if he moves into more a 3rd down role (which is what I think he will be early on.) Johnson also is very impressive in how he handles the blocking ability of being a RB. I like how he’s able to recognize and make the chip block on a defender who is getting by the offensive linemen. It’s a good trait that will carry over well into the NFL for Johnson. If Johnson can hone in on these things he shows in the passing game, then he can early on get major playing time as a 3rd down RB as he refines the running game aspects that I mentioned earlier.
Storm Johnson is a very solid and consistent running back that can hopefully find his niche in the NFL. While not an elite athlete by any means, Johnson makes up for it by being a violent runner when he plays downhill. I like Johnson to come off the board somewhere in the 5th round range and have the ability to be a early contributor for a team in the 3rd down role. If Johnson can improve on his flaws running, then a team could be a getting a very nice steal in Johnson.