After a year of seeing Ben McAdoo's offensive system, we can draw a few conclusions about how he wants to use the running game.
First, the New York Giants want a power running game to attack defenses that also have to cope with a spread, athletic, high-tempo passing game. Second, they want to use "complete" running backs. Third, they want to keep the playbook open regardless of which running back is in the game.
With those ideas in mind, we might be able to start to narrow down which running back prospects in this stacked class could appeal to the Giants.
Coincidentally, Giants representatives were seen speaking to Northern Iowa running back David Johnson this week during the Senior Bowl.
I know, he wasn't on my radar either. But, I do love feretting out these under-the-radar prospects, so who is he, and could the Giants really be interested?
- Good size at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds.
- Decent long speed, fluid athlete
- Hard runner, he ignores arm tackles
- Shows good vision and patience in the running game
- Extremely versatile. Good pass protection, natural receiver. Catches out of the backfield, slot, and wide receiver positions
- Can run a bit tall
- Ankles look a bit stiff and while he can be elusive in the open field, he doesn't look as agile in a phone booth
- Decent speed, but likely not a true home-run threat at the next level
- Played in the FCS, his level of competition isn't as high.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
I think so.
He is a good pass protector, getting good position and using his body well. Also, his skills as a receiver make him not just a good outlet, but a legitimate weapon in the passing game. Also, his experience lining up as a slot receiver or split out as a wide receiver would give McAdoo a lot of room for creativity. He can run with power like Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams. Arm tackles won't bring him down, and he can run through smaller linebackers and defensive backs.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - Not Ranked
Mocking The Draft - Not Ranked
CBS Sports - 145
Draft Countdown - Not Ranked
Draft Tek - 269
I'm quickly becoming a fan of Johnson's.
I'm going to jump off the deep end here a bit with my player comparison -- Le'Veon Bell. A poor-man's version to be sure, but so much of his game reminds me of Bell. Not only does he run with power, vision, patience, and decisiveness, but he also shares Bell's ability to rack up yards from scrimmage as a receiving threat as well as a runner.
Johnson isn't going to be a feared home run threat at the next level, but he looks like he has roughly 4.45 speed, which is enough to bite off big chunks of yards if he gets a step. He appears to have ability to run through arm tackles, punish back-seven defenders, and force mismatches with his ability to line up all over the offense.
Right now Johnson is looked at as a Day 3 pick, and that is likely where he will be drafted. Coming from a small school and playing a devalued position that happens to be absolutely loaded with talent, Johnson is fighting an uphill battle to get above the fourth round of the draft. He is a guy to keep your eye on, though.