Todd McShay sees something in Kerryon Johnson that a lot of Auburn fans probably can’t.
It’s easy to put the starting running back who declared for the NFL draft on a pedestal as a starter in the NFL, but McShay doesn’t think so.
“At the end of the day, I think he’s what you would classify as a one-two punch type guy,” McShay said Wednesday during a conference call. “I don’t think he’s going to be a starter and full-time bell cow for any team, but I do think he’s going to be a very good change-of-pace back and a guy that can get 10, 12 or so carries a game and function very well in a complementary role.”
The paralells between McShay’s comments and Auburn’s running back situation in 2017 aren’t lost on anyone. Johnson emerged as the better running back over Kamryn Pettway when Pettway went down with an injury and shouldered a majority of the load last season.
He rushed for 1,391 yards with 18 touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry, but also battled issues in the training room during his Auburn career, including the SEC Championship Game against Georgia.
McShay went on to critique some of Johnson’s overall strength.
“I think in terms of power, he’s missing some,” McShay said. “He runs hard, he’s aggressive, he’s physical and he’ll just throw himself into a defender’s arms, lower his shoulder and do all the things you’re supposed to do. I just don’t see that strength to drive through contact as much as you want to see in a top back. I think there are some weaknesses there, challenges there.”
It appears he’s not concerned with Johnson’s passion or drive, but simply his physical strength. His NFL.com draft profile voices similar concerns.
Perhaps if Johnson can change his running style and add muscle, he could be seen differently. Then again, something can also be said for sticking with what got him to this point. It’s important to remember it’s just one man’s opinion.