2023 NFL Draft Rookie Profile – Roschon Johnson (Fantasy Football)
This season, if you’re asked to name a Texas RB, without debate the answer will be Bijan Robinson. Period. End of sentence. We all know the already-anointed RB1 of this year’s draft. However, another Texas RB is also throwing his hat in the ring in the 2023 draft, and he should not simply be glanced over. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, at least at Texas. Roschon Johnson, a.k.a. the backup to Bijan, is a talent in his own right, and he is the next one up in our Rookie Profile Series. In Johnson’s Rookie Profile, we will look at his college production profile, check out what is on tape, and look at his potential fantasy outlook in 2023 and beyond.
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2023 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2023.
Johnson was born and raised in Texas and had a fantastic high school football career. A QB in high school, Johnson threw for almost 3000 yards and 35 TDs as a junior. He was a dual-threat QB, rushing for 1627 yards on 227 carries, scoring 29 times on the ground. He continued this success as a senior – 24 passing TDs and 26 rushing TDs – and put a bow on his high school career as their all-time leading passer and the second-most amount of rushing yards. Johnson yielded offers from Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State, and Ohio State before committing to Texas.
|Age||Height||Weight||247 Sports||40 time||Vertical||Broad|
|22.1||6’2”||219 lbs||4-star recruit||4.58s||31.5″||10’2″|
4.65u on attempt #2 for Roschon Johnson.
If the 4.59 holds, where do you rank Roschon? pic.twitter.com/Nu1jUQ7EVO
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) March 5, 2023
|Year||Games||Attempts||Rush Yards||YPA||Rush TD||YCO||YCO/A|
He enrolled early in Longhorn country and quickly transitioned to RB due to injuries and shortened depth at the position. Johnson had a solid year as a freshman in 2019, rushing for just over 600 yards and seven TDs. He also played a part in the receiving game, targeted 30 times, catching 23 balls for 158 yards.
Johnson’s receiving numbers dropped his sophomore year (ahem, welcome Bijan), but he stayed consistent and ended his final year at Texas with 21 targets, only eight shy of Bijan’s 28. Johnson also ended 2022 with solid 9.1 yards per reception.
What’s on Tape
Games Viewed: Kansas State (’22), UTSA (’22), TCU (’22), West Virginia (’22)
The first thing you notice when watching Roschon Johnson is his overall size. He is one of the tallest RBs in his class, coming in at 6’2” – although some sites have him listed as low as just over 6’. Either way, Johnson is taller than the NFL RB average of 5’11”. He also weighed in at 222 lbs., just over the NFL average. Johnson just looks big, at least height-wise, but carries his weight well and never looks like he is plodding down the field. He can look light on his feet and has a strong physical running style while remaining spry enough to hurdle over defenders.
2. Pass-Catching Ability
Every season, we preach the value of an RB who can catch passes, and Roschon Johnson can do that. Johnson did not have an overwhelming number of targets while playing at Texas, but he ended his tenure with 21 targets his senior year. His yards per reception were especially strong when he caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage. He only had 12 targets there, but he caught nine of them and had a y/rec of 9.4. As long as teams know he can get involved in this aspect of the game and look solid doing it, chances are they will work to put him in more receiving situations where he can succeed.
3. He is Somewhat of a Renaissance Man
Not only did Johnson make himself relevant in the rushing and passing attack at Texas, but he also stepped up in special teams. Each year in college, he played more and more snaps on special teams, culminating with 149 his junior year and 185 his senior year. He only returned eight kickoffs in his college career, but he clocked 150 yards doing so. Johnson was also used in the Longhorn blocking attack – in three out of his four seasons he blocked on at least 26% of snaps. Johnson was better at pass blocking than run blocking – a PFF grade of 67.4 (6th among RBs) to 48.6 his senior year – but his ability to get his hands dirty opening up the lanes for other players should not go unnoticed.
What’s Not on Tape
1. Breakaway speed
We saw it with his 40-time at the combine; Johnson just does not have the ability to kick it into 3rd gear as he runs from defenders. According to PFF, he only had 12 explosive runs over ten yards his senior year, which puts him close to the bottom of the RB class with that statistic. He had even fewer designed runs over 15 yards – nine during his final year, and his breakaway percentage on those runs was less than 40%. A speedster, he is not.
There is something to say about an elite athlete – let’s be honest, most all these college-level players are elite athletes – playing the majority of their college career in the shadow of the best RB recruit since Saquon. Johnson could have easily entered the transfer portal, transferred to another school, and slid right into the starting job. The RB1. But he chose not to. He stayed at Texas, leaning into his backup role, flourishing even. This unmeasurable statistic is a quality that lends to the overall success of a teammate. Johnson is the kind of guy you will trust to have your back, on and off the field.
2023 Fantasy and Dynasty Outlook
When it comes to an NFL team drafting Roschon Johnson, I think they will come for the perseverance and stay for the talent. He will be a solid starter for whichever NFL team is lucky to get him. As fantasy managers, we look to find players to invest in early, yearning for a reliable, consistent yearly payoff, and Johnson may offer just that. He has the flexibility owners desire – pass catcher, history as a QB, presence in special teams, and he is nothing if not consistent. He is well suited for the RB2/RB3 role, and with good draft capital, he could be a great addition to your dynasty team, at least to sit and marinate while his situation comes into focus.
Johnson seems like the type of player that would thrive if asked to step up in place of an injured starter. When asked by a reporter if there is an RB like him in this draft class, Johnson answered with confidence, “I honestly don’t think so, I mean, I can’t speak for everybody. I know there are some great backs in this class. As far as my story, my versatility from a quarterback’s perspective, and also playing special teams, and also not being a starter…I don’t know if there’s another back like that.”