Lions RB Kerryon Johnson 'three-down player' but maybe not 'early in his career'
Lions running backs coach David Walker this week described second-round pick RB Kerryon Johnson as a "three-down player.”
However, the Lions would like to believe they’re in a spot where they don’t have to use Johnson as an every-down workhorse this early in his career.
NFL teams have traded up for just five running backs in the first three rounds of the last four drafts: Melvin Gordon, Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, and Johnson.
It should be noted it was easier to forecast early volume as rookies for Gordon and Hunt, due to a lack of competition in the backfield at the time. However, at this point last offseason, there was certainly ambiguity in the backfields of Kamara on the Saints and Cook on the Vikings, for Cook at least until mid-to-late August. That type of ambiguity in the backfield can lead to discounts in fantasy drafts, where Johnson is currently being drafted in the eighth round or later. Detroit aggressively traded up for him, using premium draft capital in an offseason where they are looking to overhaul their running game.