STRENGTHS - While Johnson is short, he is not small and definitely has a strong, muscular build. He is shockingly strong for his size and combined with his balance and competitiveness, he has consistently shown the ability to run through arm/grab tackles to gain yards after contact. Naturally instinctive with good vision, Johnson is able to find hole/crease and has the quick burst to get through it. A patient runner, Johnson does an excellent job of sitting on blocker's hip until they open hole and then he makes quick cut off it. He has "shoulder shake" to freeze defender and make tackler miss. Able to change directions fast, he is able to avoid defenders who shoot into the backfield and can bounce runs outside when the middle is clogged up. Showing soft, natural hands, Johnson consistently caught the ball well and is an effective runner after the catch.
WEAKNESSES - Years ago, a back under 5'7 would have had little opportunity in the NFL, but in today's NFL where the ability to make plays out in space is so valuable, backs like Johnson have real value. A quicker than fast back, Johnson can get through the hole quickly, but has not shown the playing speed to out-run angles and take plays the distance. He needs to do a better job of wrapping up the ball with both hands. Although he has been a strong runner at Arkansas and gained many yards after contact, he does not have the size/strength to be a full-time feature back.
SUMMARY - While the media has focused more attention on teammate and fellow running back Knile Davis, I believe Johnson to be the safer bet and more likely to be a dependable part of an NFL offense. I love Johnson's aggressive running style - He consistently attacks the hole, lowers his shoulders to make himself a smaller target, delivers a blow to tackler and gains yards after contact. Quick footed and agile, Johnson changes directions fast to make sharp cuts and to make tacklers miss. Overall, even though Johnson was not invited to the Combine and lacks ideal height, I am confident in his ability to be a productive player in the NFL. While comparing another short back to Maurice Jones-Drew seems predictable, it is clear when evaluating Johnson that they are similar players with like skill sets.