The Lions sent their No. 51 overall choice plus a fourth-round pick to the Patriots for the 43rd pick in order to select Johnson. He’ll have an opportunity to get significant playing time right out of the gate in the Lions’ mishmash backfield. Veteran LeGarrette Blount still projects as the team’s top ball carrier with Theo Riddick as a pass-catching specialist, but Johnson could tilt things in his favor with a strong summer. For what it’s worth, Riddick says he’s not concerned about losing ground to Johnson.
“It’s never a conflict,” Riddick said recently (via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press). “I put my teammates first. I was always taught that as a player, as a young kid, and I continue to put that out. So, it really doesn’t affect me. Even, again, with Blount being here I’m just trying to get him to soak up the playbook as fast as possible, because if I can do that then that helps us all. I just want to win.”
Johnson holds the potential to be a three-down back in the NFL, but some evaluators worry that his running style and frame will make him injury prone. He didn’t seem to have any trouble at Auburn, however, as he ran for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final year on campus. He also recorded 24 catches for 194 yards and two scores.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.