Detroit Lions 2015 NFL Draft Watch: Combine Preview – Juniors

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Dec 27, 2014; Shreveport, LA, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson (8) rushes during the first quarter as South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back Sharrod Golightly (9) attempts a tackle in the 2014 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Duke Johnson #8, RB – Miami

The Reggie Bush experiment is possibly coming to a close, and while Riddick has promise as a utility back, the Lions will need to add some explosiveness to their backfield. One back who could fit the bill is Duke Johnson. The Miami native ranks among the best in a school that has a history of producing NFL-caliber backs, with 3519 yards on 526 carries (6.8 ypc. average) and 32 touchdowns in just three seasons – stats even more impressive considering he missed a third of the 2013 season due to injury.

Johnson probably lacks ideal size to hold up as a three-down back at the next level (5-9, 206 lbs.). However his rare stop-and-go acceleration, lateral agility and long speed provide him with big-play threat ability every time he steps on the field. In addition, he possesses reliable hands out of the backfield, providing offensive coordinators with the option to use him on wheel routes or split out wide. His injury history will require thorough examination throughout the draft process, but his play-making skills will ensure he’s off the board no later than day two.

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