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2015 NFL Draft results: David Johnson scouting report

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What did the Cardinals get in the "Big Back" from Northern Iowa?

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One of the top small school prospects in the draft, David Johnson has been a highly productive back out of the Missouri Valley Conference, producing three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons for Panthers.

What is there to know about the Arizona Cardinals third round pick.

David Johnson, RB Northern Iowa, 6-1 224lbs


  • Elite size, speed and athleticism for a running back.
  • Runs with a good body tilt and forward lean, knows how to use his size to fall forward for extra yardage.
  • Extremely smooth receiver out of the backfield with great hands and running good routes.
  • Good change of direction skills on interior runs and can make the initial defender miss.
  • Shows some breakaway speed when in the open field.
  • Works well with his blocks, setting them up and following them.
  • Overall good build, with a strong lower half.


  • Doesn't always run with as much "pop" behind his pads as you'd think with his size and speed combination.
  • Tends to get upright when he runs.
  • Glides through the hole too often.
  • Needs to be more decisive on his outside runs.
  • Can be brought down in the open field by smaller defenders if they get a hand on them.
  • Struggles in pass protection,

Final Thought:

Johnson is a long striding runner who has a tendency to run a little to upright and not as powerfully as you'd like for a player with his natural size and speed combination. If the Cardinals can Johnson to channel his energy into consistent, competitive, fiery running style, he could be a workhorse back. If not, Johnson's ability in the passing game, long speed and ability to make people miss in the open field make him a viable third down back and kick returner.