Duke Johnson’s numbers fell off considerably last year, but let’s be honest about the state of the Houston Texans in 2020. Not only was the team overall just a pitiful mess, but Johnson was lost behind a miserable line working within an offense that had traded DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson. For any team looking at his stats from last year and making judgment calls, it would be unfair to say that Johnson has lost his flair as one of the league’s best pass-catching running backs.
Before last season’s precipitous fall, Johnson held a career average of 4.4 yards/carry and had averaged 56 catches and 516 receiving yards per season—mostly with the Cleveland Browns. He was originally third round pick out of Miami back in 2015, and the Texans traded a pick that turned into another third in order to land him before the 2019 campaign. Despite his considerable experience, somehow Johnson remains only 27 years old, which means he should still have a lot left in the tank for whichever team decides to sign him in free agency.
It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs make a move here or not, because Johnson would likely be the best option for any team wanting to sign a back with great hands. Perhaps they simply liked Bernard’s unique skill set and had a vision for how to use him on the offense, but if there’s a general need, Johnson could be the right call. Perhaps the dust here will settle a bit more after the draft.