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Miami Hurricanes Football 2015 Draft Profile: Duke Johnson

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In this new series, we take a look at UM's draft eligible players and provide insight on what type of players they will be at next level, where they might be drafted, and more.

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2014 ALL-ACC, FIRST TEAM (ACSMA, coaches)

2013 ALL-ACC, FIRST TEAM (Athlon Sports)
2013 ALL-ACC, SECOND TEAM
(ACSMA, coaches)

2012 ACC OVERALL AND OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (ACSMA, coaches)

Former 5 star recruit out of Norland H.S.

Hurricane's all team rushing, yards from scrimmage yards leader.

2014 STATISTICS -

Rushing - 242 carries, 1,652 yards, 6.8 ypc, 10 TDs

Receiving -  38 rec, 423 yards, 3 TDs

CAREER STATISTICS -

Rushing - 526 carries, 3,519 yards, 6.7 ypc, 26 TDs

Receiving - 69 rec, 719 yards, 4 TDs

KO Returns -  41 ret, 1,288 yards, 31.8 avg, 2 TDs.

Ran a 4.54 40 at the combine.   33 inch vertical

Checks in at 5'9 207.

Came to UM at approximately 190 pounds, but steadily added bulk/muscle to his frame over his career with out sacrificing much in the speed department.

Started out as an explosive returner as well, but used less and less on ST as career progressed to remain healthy.

Improved all facets of his game over the span of 3 years in Coral Gables.  Because of his ability to run both inside and out, catch passes, and pick up blitzes, was a prototypical every down back at the college level.

Recognized as one of the most explosive players in all of college during his UM career, and one of the best backs in the storied history of Hurricanes football.

But can he measure up as well against NFL defenders?  Will he be more of change or pace runner or a 3 down back?

Let's break it all down and see where he might end up come draft time:

Strengths:

#1 Explosiveness - Johnson's 40 might be in the 4.5 range but on game day he runs more like a sub 4.4 guy. He has great burst both running to the outside and between the tackles. He rarely gets caught from behind, and he is capable of taking it to the house every time he gets to the second level.

#2 Deceptively strong - DJ rarely goes down on first contact, and his stiff arm is one of the best you will see on any level.  Despite his relative smaller stature, he is a powerful inside runner.

#3 Excellent hands - Early in his career at Miami he was seldom used as a pass catcher, but this past season he showed the ability to make both easy and difficult receptions. Johnson will be a valuable asset as a pro as with his knack to make plays on third downs, and keep the chains moving.

#4 Pass protection - There are a lot of backs in this draft that can do all of things mentioned above as well as Johnson, but where he really separates from most are in his skills to pick up blitzing defenders.  Most young NFL backs struggle in this department.  Duke displayed an uncanny toughness in protecting his QB from almost day 1 on the field.

#5 Intangibles - DJ is more a lead by example type player, but isn't afraid to speak up when needed. Plays the game with tremendous heart and passion. Johnson is also a genuine, warm, and compassionate person who will not only be a plus to any locker room who resides, but also any community.  His/the team's relationship with 3rd grader Carter Hucks was one of the most heartwarming stories to come out of UM in a long time.

Weaknesses:

#1 Fumbles - Johnson put the ball on the turf a few too many times over his career, this past season especially. In fighting for extra yards, he often opens himself up to gang tackling, big hits, and strips.

#2 Durability - Again in playing so hard, he opens himself up to punishment.  Missed the second half of his sophomore season with a broken ankle.  Also had a concussion earlier in 2013.  This past season, avoided any major injuries, but was banged up more than a few occasions.

NFL Players he most resembles:  CJ Spiller, Giovanni Bernard, LeSean McCoy, Tiki Barber (retired).

Draft Projection: 2nd round.  If he's still available, RB starved Jacksonville would be smart to snag Duke early in the second round. Tennessee has a similar back on the roster in Bishop Sankey, but Johnson would be an all-around improvement at RB if the Titans pick him up.  The Jets and Browns could also use a play maker like DJ on their respective rosters. Johnson should not be available come day 3 of the draft.