4 stats Chicago Bears fans must know about Roschon Johnson
The Chicago Bears started off day three by drafting Roschon Johnson, a running back from Texas. This is a move that we saw coming as far back as the Senior Bowl, and it is because he is a great fit.
So, why did it make so much sense?
4. Roschon Johnson has plenty of tread on the tires
One thing that obviously helps Roschon Johnson is that he spent most of his college career as the 1B in a committee. To be fair to Johnson, it is easy to be phased out altogether when the other back is Bijan Robinson, who went top ten in this draft.
However, he did consistently get work. What is funny is that he actually had the most carries of his career when he was a true freshman. Johnson actually joined the team as a quarterback but changed to running back in the spring. Despite that, he had 123 carries for 649 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had 23 catches for 158 yards. Then Bijan Robinson came.
Roschon Johnson stuck with the team, but his role was reduced. He had 80 carries in year two, then 96 and 93 in the following two seasons. He caught 33 passes in three seasons after 23 as a freshman. The team had one of the best players In the entire country, so it was hard to sit him.
Texas tried to get him on the field in creative ways, and they had 25 snaps with Bijan Robinson as the running back, and Roschon Johnson as the full-back. They also had Johnson out wide or in the slot for 24 snaps. They did what they could to get him on the field.
3. Roschon Johnson can move the chains and score touchdowns
One reason the Chicago Bears have to like Roschon Johnson is that he is a grinder between the tackles. At times, the Longhorns used him to do the dirty work and ease the load on Robinson. All Johnson did was grind out first downs and touchdowns.
Last season, Johnson created 32 first downs on 94 attempts, and he finished with 5 touchdowns as well. That is a 34% first-down rate and a 5.3% touchdown rate. For perspective, the leader in first down last season had a 33% rate, and the leader in touchdown rate was 8%. So, he was grinding out first downs better than any other back. Beyond that, he had a 55% success rate, which actually meant that he also was about as consistent down-per-down as Bijan Robinson.
This is a reliable trait for the Chicago Bears and something that replaces David Montgomery. Khalil Herbert is a big play hitter, but cannot get the yards on a down-in, down-out basis. With Johnson, they can get that part of his game.
2. Roschon Johnson gives the Chicago Bears pass protection help
One of the more underrated aspects of Johnson is pass protection. It is not talked about much because it is not the key thing that fans want from their running back, but the Chicago Bears need a back that can do it.
Roschon Johnson also has just 170 snaps as a pass blocker, so this is also a limited sample. Still, the team trusts him on the key pass protection snaps, and he grades above average in almost any pass protection metric.
For his career, he spent 25.7% of his snaps as a pass protector, and that rate was 25.5% last season. This is important because Khalil Herbert has been awful in this area. The team explicitly signed Travis Homer with the thought that he would be the pass-protecting back. Now they can get a pass protector who also brings a little more to the table.
1. Chicago Bears can play Roschon Johnson on special teams
What makes Roschon Johnson such a great pick for the Chicago Bears is that he brings an enormously high floor. Even if he does nothing as a running back, he is almost a lock to make the roster. The reason comes down to special teams.
For his career, Roschon Johnson has 459 special teams snaps. That is not as a return man, either, although he does work on the return game. That is as a gunner in the coverage game and a protector in the return game. He does it all.
Roschon Johnson is a four-phase special teams player, he just did not play field goal kicks and field goal blocking. He had 172 snaps in kick return, 131 in punt coverage, 82 in punt return, and 74 in kick coverage. This presents a high floor, he is going to make the team based on special teams alone. Now, the question is how high does his ceiling get?