The Detroit Lions have been arguably football’s most inconsistent team of the season thus far. However, their second round draft pick, Kerryon Johnson, has been on a crusade to put an end to their poor consistency.
The Ace of Auburn
Johnson participated in just 3 years of collegiate football at the university of Auburn.
In 2015 his freshman year, he was utilised as a rotational back for the team. He participated in 52 rushes for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns. In addition, he was sparingly used as a receiver from the backfield with 14 receptions for 159 yards.
The following year, Johnson slowly began to gain traction at the school after receiving 6 of 12 starts. In those 12 games he attempted 182 rushes for 895 yards, which averaged 4.9 yards per carry. He also ran in 11 TD’s whilst seeing his duties in the outfield increase to 17 receptions.
His junior year, which was to be his final year, he had a standout season. His 285 rushes gained 1,391 yards (20th in rushing leaders for the year) and 18 touchdowns. He was also a considerable threat when receiving the ball as he gained 194 yards and 2 TD’s on just 24 receptions.
For his efforts in the 2017 season Kerryon Johnson was awarded SEC Player of the Year and nominated to the First Team All-SEC Team.
Game-Changing Talent in Detroit
Kerryon Johnson doesn’t lead in any categories for rushing statistics in his first year of football in the NFL. So how could he be a game-changer, I hear you ask?
As you can see from the table of results, in every game that Johnson is given an ample amount of snaps, the Lions win. More importantly, he often completely alters the dynamic of the game when he performs well. Like that of his career best game at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami where he rushed 19 times for 158 yards.
Looking beyond the statistics, Johnson possess a lot of integral skills already in his young NFL career. Firstly, he has great eye discipline and has demonstrated that many times when the O-Line somewhat collapses.
Additionally, his acceleration is almost second to none, as he can approach his maximum speed within seconds. Despite not being one of the faster backs in the league, he is able to locate spaces in the backfield even when they may not be there to begin with.
As evidenced, it should be in the Lions’ best interests to feed Johnson the ball as for the most part Matthew Stafford and the offensive line simply cannot get the job done. Furthermore, Johnson has proven himself as a notable dual-threat, and they should take advantage of that skill.
As of week 11, Johnson has compiled 554 rushing yards on 103 attempts. Moreover, when used as a receiver, he has amassed 204 yards on just 30 receptions. This is an average of 6.8 yards per reception.
With that in mind, I truly feel that Kerryon Johnson can be the difference-maker in the Lions’ fortunes this season. He’s proven himself as a credible threat and therefore should be used at the expense of the opposition.
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