David Johnson   RB   Northern Iowa

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
I think when you see talent like Davidís, you accept it and donít look for reasons not to. David is a big back with speed, size and bulk to be a franchise running back. The more you give him the ball, the more impact he has. He can catch the ball down the field with the best receiver in this draft. He is tall, but has excellent balance and if you donít get to him before he hits the line of scrimmage, he will gain yards on you all day long. David will break the line of scrimmage and punish smaller players trying to tackle him. Although he runs high, he will lower his pads just before contact to gain needed yardage on third downs and move the chains. David is not your quick, scat back, flames-in-your-hair type of runner, but he does have the speed to take it on any down and distance to the end zone. He has a CPM score of over 90, which makes him the most explosive back in this draft and a match-up nightmare in the running game and in the passing game. Tell me, would you want that type of talent on your team? I would and I donít think it will matter what round in which I draft him -- just that I make sure I draft him.

CONCERNS
The concerns are obvious: the level of competition and the fact that at the NFL level, he is going to get hit for the first time in his life like he has never been hit on a football field before. That means the potential to fumble, the potential to hesitate when running between the tackles and bounce everything to the outside where Davidís talent and impact will be minimized. Then, of course, there is handling the playbook and reading defense so that he can help to block on third downs. Oh, and letís not forget showing up on time for meetings and any off field issues that someone might be hiding. As I said, the concerns are obvious.

BOTTOM LINE
Target David in any round you want, but Iím warning youÖdonít pass on him because it will be a big mistake. David gets stronger as the game goes on and runs harder as the game goes on, so getting hit at the NFL level should set his juices flowing. As far as blocking, why would you want him blocking on any third down? With his type of talent, you either hand him the ball or you put him in the slot and pass him the ball. I told you he can catch the ball as well as any receiver in this draft down the field, so why would you keep him in to block? Then of course there is handling the play book -- that could slow him down until he gains confidence, but it shouldnít slow him down for long. So really the only thing that makes anyone question Davidís ability to impact at the NFL level is the level of competition. I would draft David and give him the time he needs to adapt to the NFL level. Donít force him on the field for long intervals and David will get better and better as the year goes on. As the years go on, David will become an impact player for the team that selects him because there is too much athletic talent in his ability to play more than one position at a very high level. As a running back, he can carry the load and his impact as a receiver will be just that, impacting. Given the time, David can be something special. Look at Robís board to see what round David most likely will be selected in and then be smart draft in the round before that, you wonít be sorry.

Drew Boylhart
MAR/2015