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You know what this board needs? More Chris Johnson Highlights

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by FuzzyLumpkins, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. The Rawhide Kid

    The Rawhide Kid Gunslinger

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    One of my main concerns with Chris Johnson is his intelligence, meaning his ability to comprehend the plays are and what defenses are doing. I believed he wanted to go to Florida or some big football college but couldn't get in so he had to settle for ECU. In all, I wouldn't be upset if we drafted him.
  2. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Entry standards into ECU are the same as FSU, but I'm not sure about Uof F. Look, J Charles got in UT, and I've heard he is a tad bit slow. In CJs scouting report, his RB coach says he has a VERY high football IQ. I'm not sure about the rest.
  3. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    His OC said that he has missed two assignments the entire time he played at ECU.
  4. Bleu Star

    Bleu Star Agent Coulson

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  5. Bleu Star

    Bleu Star Agent Coulson

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    The guy runs screen passes like butta, can obviously run the rock out of the backfield, and returns kicks with authority... :bow:
  6. Bleu Star

    Bleu Star Agent Coulson

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    Back to the video... Getting my fix. :)
  7. Goldenrichards83

    Goldenrichards83 Active Member

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    http://www.newerascouting.com/category/positions/runningback/

    http://profootballexperts.scout.com/a.z?s=211&p=8&c=1&nid=3325673&yr=2008

    http://nfldraftwatch.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/sleeper-watch-chris johnson/

    All these sites compare him to Westbrook. Also Charlie Cassely has said it also compares to westbrook on Path to the draft along with other analyst on that show.

    Finially here is an article you may not want to read:

    In the Tape Room: Chris Johnson



    Could Chris Johnson be the next Brian Westbrook? (AP)


    by Ron Burke
    ComcastSportsNet.com Contributor

    As I write this, the early thunderbolts of free agency have quieted, and the NFL draft is one month away. Teams are in the process of finalizing draft plans, pro day workouts are in full force, and prospects soon will begin the whirlwind circuit of pre-draft visits with NFL teams.

    In addition, teams are balancing in-house issues that could go a long way toward determining their eventual success. The Eagles appear to be facing such a scenario with Brian Westbrook. As a result, this draft preview is in part a prospect evaluation as well as a commentary of the running back position and how it relates to the Eagles.

    Westbrook is heading into his seventh NFL season, and by all appearances he’s at the top of his game in terms of production. Not only was he selected for the Pro Bowl last season, but Westbrook also was an All-Pro, meaning he wasn’t just among the best in his conference; he was deemed to be the best in the league. That’s heady stuff for a player that did not draw a regular paycheck in 2007 thanks to a team snafu that had paid him more bonus money than he was entitled to receive after the previous season.

    Insiders say Westbrook played with a chip on his shoulder all season after the matter went public when the Eagles – smartly, I might add – reported their mistake to the league. Even though The Case of the Funny Money has been settled, it’s a good bet that Westbrook’s contract remains a sticking point at least in his mind.

    That brings me to the upcoming draft and how the Eagles may go about finding the next Brian Westbrook (their previous attempt to do so, around the time of an earlier Westbrook contract impasse, failed when scatback Ryan Moats was unable to get on the field with any consistency).

    It seemed to me at the time the Eagles desperately wanted to uncover a cheaper alternative to Westbrook, and only came clean with the green when it became clear they had no alternative. In the end, they extended him for five years, with $10 million in guarantees. That was in November 2005, and it wasn’t long before Westbrook’s deal became antiquated by running-back standards, so in the end the Eagles had a bargain.

    Four months later, the Seahawks re-signed Shaun Alexander to a deal that included $15 million in the first year alone. Then, in 2007, the Chiefs loaded Larry Johnson’s pockets with $19 million in guarantees. So, in no time at all, Westbrook was dwarfed by two players at his position in more ways than one. The value of Westbrook’s contract is about $25 million. He is signed through 2010, at which time he will be 31 and will have no shot at another huge payday.

    The Eagles, of course, have no obligation to extend him, but the last time they came to a contract impasse, Westbrook held out for one day of training camp. The question one must consider today is this: Will the Eagles again use the draft to find a replacement for their starting running back?

    I recently got a request from an Eagles fan about a back that simply electrified him during the past college bowl season. Now, this fan is extremely astute, so I was not at all surprised to learn that the college player in question – Chris Johnson of East Carolina – is noticeably Westbrook-esque in the way he plays the game.

    Johnson is one of the more intriguing backs in the 2008 draft class. He is – at times – both lightning and thunder. His similarities to Westbrook include:

    Size: Johnson is 5-11, 195; Westbrook is 5-10, 203.
    Hands: Johnson set an ECU running back record with 125 career receptions.
    Versatility: Each led the nation in all-purpose yards as a college senior.

    As I have noted in previous evaluations, I lean on the following criteria when evaluating running backs for the NFL:

    Vision/Instinct: How well does he see the field and make split-second decisions?
    Burst: How quickly does he get out of his stance and how explosive is he through the hole? (Remember, running lanes are narrower in the NFL.)
    Change of direction: How well does he cut and make defenders miss?
    Yards after contact: I want a back that can get the yards that are not there.
    Speed: He doesn’t have to run a 4.3 forty to make plays.

    Now, I am on record concerning my feelings about the value of running backs. To put it simply, I would not – under any circumstances – draft a running back in the top 10. The reason is, it is not a position that commands such value. It makes far more sense to use a high first-round pick on, say, a quarterback, defensive end or cornerback, then grab a runner later. The NFL is littered with late-round and free-agent running backs that achieve at a high level. Remember, Westbrook was a third-round pick.

    Now, back to Chris Johnson. I watched videotape of three East Carolina games from the 2007 season. In evaluating him in line with the above criteria, this is what I discovered:

    Johnson’s vision and instinct are among his greatest assets. He clearly is a player that feels the game around him, which is best illustrated by how he often makes the first guy miss. With a better offensive line, Johnson would have been a household name even before he ripped up Boise State for 223 yards in the Hawaii Bowl. He sets up his blocks well and can hit the hole quickly. He has a bit of a slashing style that he relies on quite a bit and is highly effective because of his feel for the game. This quality also helps him as both a kick and punt return man, but he's better from scrimmage than on special teams because of his ability to cut and explode in tight spaces and gain yards after the catch in open field. He played in a shotgun-based, spread offense that went after defenses and often was the primary attacker.

    When he gets to the hole or to the edge, Johnson can turn on the afterburners. His burst separates him from many in the 2008 class. Johnson’s feet are always moving, a trait that often is overlooked when determining what makes a running back special. One area that he will have to work on, however, is maintaining consistent power in his legs every time he touches the ball. In the NFL, any step taken at less than full throttle will expose a player to mediocrity in a hurry.

    Change of direction also is an area of strength for Johnson. The ability to cut on a dime can turn a player with less than desirable speed into a weapon. Johnson happens to be both fast and quick. In the ultra-athletic NFL, where defenders often are quicker and faster than their offensive counterparts, a running back that can makes guys lean the wrong way for only an instant can be effective home run hitters. Johnson grades out well in this category.

    Yards after contact: Johnson has a way of sometimes sliding off tackles, not absorbing the full contact of the hit. He twists and turns his body in such a way as to reduce his chances of taking a big shot – but also wiggles for extra yardage. The impressive thing is, he does that at full speed. He seems to process the scene quickly and is able to think ahead of the man that’s trying to take him down.

    In a way, Johnson reminds me of Emmitt Smith in his ability to get all he can out of a play. He has a nice forward lean that aids his yards per carry, and in the open field he’s deadly. Again, as I stated earlier, I want to see him run with power at all times, so he can get the most out of his impressive skills.

    Speed is sometimes overrated in a running back. The way I see it, if a team has a solid offensive line, then the running back is going to get his yards and allow that offense to keep a defense honest. If he has good but not great speed, he still will break off his share of long runs, so I don’t get caught up on whether a guy runs a 4.2 or a 4.5 forty.

    You think the Dolphins, Bears and Buccaneers, respectively, care today what Ronnie Brown, Cedric Benson and Cadillac Williams ran in the forty before all three were drafted in the top five in 2005? And who cares whether previously unknown Ryan Grant ran a 4.4 or a 4.5 coming out of Notre Dame now that he's helped Green Bay reach the NFC title game. I’ll say this about Chris Johnson’s speed. He’s fast. Very fast. But, it’s the other things I mentioned that will have more to do with his ability to succeed in the NFL.

    So, where should Johnson be drafted? And does he make sense for the Eagles? I’m glad you asked.

    I have Johnson listed as a solid second-round pick, with enough of a full complement of tools to sneak him into the first round. Like Westbrook, he is extremely comfortable as a receiver out of the backfield, the slot, or lined up wide. He carries great value because of his versatility. I love his hands. Because he offers more than just running skills, Johnson would be an immediate contributor to packages designed to get more speed and options on the field. He is a perfect West Coast offense running back. His blocking needs work, but that’s way down on the list of priorities considering his intriguing attributes in more important areas. At the very least, he could be used as a slot receiver as a rookie.

    The Eagles drafted big back Tony Hunt last year, but he rarely played. They still have Correll Buckhalter, and were it not for repeated injuries, he would – in my view – rival Westbrook’s production as a rusher, and in particular his ability to get to the end zone. Did you know Westbrook has only eleven more career rushing touchdown than Buckhalter – in 600 more attempts?

    Despite a slew of devastating injuries, Buckhalter has a better career TD-per-carry average than his All-Pro teammate. Buck averages one touchdown for every 25 carries in his career. Westbrook’s average is one every 37 carries. Of course, Westbrook’s value goes beyond running the football. In fact, he’s a much more effective pass catcher than rusher because he is able to operate in space, often in well-devised schemes that allow him to be wide open.

    Taking his receiving into account, Westbrook has a combined 60 touchdowns from scrimmage. Buckhalter has eighteen. No contest. Westbrook’s combined rushing and receiving TD-per-carry average is 23, still only a bit better than Buckhalter’s average of one TD every 25 touches as a rusher only. The fact that receiving is not Buckhalter’s strong suit, and considering the wide disparity between the two players’ strengths, now may be the best time to head off a potential contract problem at the pass and seek Westbrook’s replacement. The Eagles did just that last year at quarterback when they drafted Kevin Kolb in the second round to eventually replace Donovan McNabb. Who saw that coming?

    This opinion is not based on any inside information. It’s just a hunch I have that the Eagles would rather go young than extend upwards of $15 million in guaranteed money to a running back that will turn 29 in September. And Westbrook – coming off his most productive season – certainly would expect to receive well above the guaranteed money he received in 2005. If there is a back in this year’s draft that can do the things Westbrook can do, for a fraction of the cost, why not make the move?

    Westbrook will turn 29 in September, and while he’s coming off a career year, there is no guarantee he will be nearly as effective in 2008. Shaun Alexander and Larry Johnson are exhibits 1 and 1A for the risk that comes with giving running backs huge money, then watching their bodies defy them.

    For all of Westbrook’s individual success last season (more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage), his team failed to make the playoffs. Clearly he did all he could and the resulting lack of a postseason berth is not his fault. But that returns me to my argument about the inflated value of the running-back position. I may have to call it the A-P Syndrome, after Adrian Peterson. As a rookie, Peterson, the seventh overall pick in the draft, rushed for more 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns, yet the Vikings sat home for the postseason. In essence, his production was wasted. His overall influence on his team was not enough – even with monumental efforts – to get his team to even one playoff game.

    But, A-P and B-West were not alone. Other well-paid backs like Jamal Lewis (fifth in the NFL in rushing in 2007) and Edgerrin James (seventh) also spent January at home.

    While I wouldn’t draft Johnson 19th overall, if he is within striking distance in the second round, I might consider making a move that would involve swapping picks in a later round. That way I would not be giving away picks in the process.

    I would be comfortable using a mid-to-late second round pick to remain true to the value of his position, and I would believe I have drafted a player that can help immediately because of his versatility and that could eventually become a starter. He’s certainly no Brian Westbrook today, but given his myriad skills, Johnson could slip into a similar niche in a league that is paying increasing attention to spreading the field and attacking with every weapon it can get its hands on – and that the defense can’t.

    E-mail Ron Burke
  8. The Rawhide Kid

    The Rawhide Kid Gunslinger

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    If we don't get Dmac, I could definitely live with either Ray Rice or CJ. For some reason, I just hope we don't spend one of our first rounders of Felix. For me, with no Dmac, the ideal situation would be to use one of our firsts for a vet Receiver and Rice or CJ. Not too sure what we'd with the 22nd pick.
  9. Romo2Dez4six

    Romo2Dez4six Touchdown!!!!

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    I would rather see more Ray Rice films, my brother was at a ECU game this past year and he will have to tell you what he saw in Johnson beause I don't know much about him.:)
  10. tomson75

    tomson75 Brain Dead Shill

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    You get smarter every day! Good stuff there.
  11. The Rawhide Kid

    The Rawhide Kid Gunslinger

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    I think some of your genius has rubbed off on me. ;)
  12. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    its closer to div II than the SEC though

    especially in terms of NFL calibar defensive talent

    David

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