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2023 Cowboys scouting report: Texas RB Roschon Johnson

The other Texas running back could be an ideal fit in Dallas

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Baylor at Texas Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Name: Roschon Johnson
Position: RB
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 219 pounds

Roschon Johnson Career Stats, courtesy of Sports Reference

Combine Results: 4.58 40-yard dash, 31.5” vertical, 10’2” broad

Roschon Johnson is the ultimate team guy. As a four star prospect out of Texas, he was the sixth highest rated dual threat quarterback in his class. Johnson opted to stay close to home and play for the Longhorns. Junior Sam Ehlinger was entrenched as the starter, and Johnson was poised to be his backup with a chance at starting whenever Ehlinger left for the NFL.

However, a week before the season began, Johnson was switched to running back after multiple Longhorns running backs were injured during training camp. Johnson responded well, totaling 649 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the year. He played so well that Texas opted to keep him at running back.

But the next year saw the arrival of Bijan Robinson, who quickly became the Longhorns’ top rusher. Still, Johnson remained with the team and refused to explore transfer opportunities. He spent the next two seasons spelling Robinson, putting up respectable numbers that suggest he could have a substantial future at the next level.

Burst: Johnson is an explosive back and does a great job of bursting through holes with force. He has a little more size than his fellow Longhorn Robinson, and thus does a better job of converting speed to power. He actually tied Robinson for the third-best 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash, a testament to his ability to get up to speed in a hurry.

Balance: There are times when Johnson plays with too high of a pad level, and it’s negatively affected his balance as a runner. That doesn’t distract from his ability to break through tacklers with consistency. He broke tackles at a higher rate than Robinson and also generated 0.11 more yards after contact per attempt than his star teammate.

Lateral Agility: Johnson is a straight line runner, and much more comfortable plowing into the hole and grinding out the dirty yards. His footwork isn’t as refined as you’d like, but he’s also had a limited body of work to really hone his craft here. Still, Johnson is serviceable when moving laterally, but he’s at his best moving forward with steam.

Ball Carrying: Good luck getting the ball out of his hands. Johnson fumbled once in 2022, and that was the first time he’d fumbled in his entire college career. That’s made all the more impressive when considering how often Johnson ran right into heavy contact.

Pass Catching: Johnson wasn’t really utilized much in the passing game - Robinson took most of that workload, and for good reason - but Johnson never looked out of place catching the ball. He dropped five of his 44 targets over his college career, which isn’t that bad at all. Still, Johnson’s ceiling as a pass catcher is as a checkdown target. He shouldn’t be confused for a Darren Sproles type.

Blocking: Johnson is about everything you look for in a pass blocking running back. He’s got the size, frame, strength, and intensity to hold up at the point of attack as a blocker. He plays with an offensive lineman’s mentality when serving in pass protection, which will help him earn snaps at the next level.

Athleticism: Johnson doesn’t have the elite athleticism of Robinson, and that direct comparison has muddied his perception. Still, Johnson’s 8.63 Relative Athletic Score is nothing to sneeze at, and it’s mostly being dragged down by a poor vertical jump that sure seems like an outlier. He’s not on the level of being a physical freak, but Johnson isn’t lacking for athleticism either.

Processing: Johnson plays the game like a veteran, which is good. He may not be the best lateral mover, but Johnson still manages to find open holes because of how quickly he can dissect the defense and find the right spot. He’s especially sharp in pass protection, rarely getting tricked by exotic blitzes or stunts.

Intangibles: Johnson is a model teammate. He changed positions on short notice to help out the team and thrived. Even when he was very clearly relegated to number two on the depth chart, Johnson stuck it out and gave it his all. He plays with a tenacity that just rubs off on the rest of his teammates, who routinely raved about his leadership and work ethic. Johnson has a lot to offer a team on the field, but his impact in the locker room might just be his best attribute.

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