Kerryon Johnson Weaknesses:
Kerryon Johnson Doesn’t Have Great Long Speed
Speed, while not the most important trait for a running back in the NFL, can certainly set a back apart. Kerryon Johnson does not have that kind of speed. He has enough to make the corner. That shouldn’t be a concern for him at the next level, but he isn’t going to threaten defenses with 80-yard runs, and he will frequently get caught from behind in the open field.
Running backs win in different ways, and Kerryon Johnson wins with his power and balance, not his speed. His speed shouldn’t hinder him much between the tackles, but he isn’t going to burn many guys in open field or outrun many people.
Kerryon Johnson Lacks Open Field Agility
Kerryon Johnson is not the type of back that is going to make many defenders whiff in open field. He has good subtle moves to minimize and run through contact, but in terms of pure elusiveness, Johnson doesn’t have it. Similar to his lack of top-end speed, it just isn’t part of his game. That isn’t the way that he wins.
That said, elusive qualities would certainly be beneficial to his game. The fact that he wins almost exclusively with power and balance limits what he can do in open field and when faced with one-on-one situations.
You can see in the play below that, while this cut in the open field is sudden and violent, it does not create a lot of distance. The defender is still able to upend him. The suddenness of his cuts is what generally helps minimize contact, but the lack of distance that he creates with those cuts still means that he is going to have to maintain his balance rather than avoiding defenders completely.
In the play below, you can see that, while Johnson does a good job showing patience and picking his way through traffic, he lacks the lateral explosiveness to make a defender miss or cut back behind his blockers. There is a handful of running backs in this class that possess the lateral agility to have turned this run into much more yardage than what Johnson gives us here. There is plenty of space for him to move laterally and gain more yardage here. He just lacks the explosiveness to exploit it.