David Johnson put on a show in the first day of OTAs, confirming his health and talent remain fully in tact following last year’s season-ending wrist dislocation. Despite Bruce Arians’ departure, Johnson was reportedly still lining up at WR and frequently motioning out of the backfield in practice, suggesting he’ll maintain his target-hog receiving “Usage” in addition to his bell cow back status.
Johnson entered 2018 with some mild concerns over both his health and his role outside of Bruce Arians’ workhorse-obsessed scheme. If the first day of OTAs was any indication, both worries should be assuaged, as Johnson looked as explosive as ever while moving all over the formation:
“I don’t want to get too excited,” new HC Steve Wilks gushed, “but David Johnson, he looked outstanding today. It’s good to have him back there, just flying around. The things that he’s doing right now, it’s pretty exciting.”
Players also took notice, too. “Penny Stock” candidate Ricky Seals-Jones noted, “He’s a different cat, man…the moves David can do are different.”
With his health and usage now firmer, Johnson will continue climbing up 2018 rankings. Last year’s Consensus No.1 is just one season removed from over 2,100 total yards and 20 TDs, and his lofty goals remain 1,000+ yards rushing AND 1,000 yards receiving for 2018. Sam Bradford is a dump off aficionado, and this enormous ambitions aren’t impossible.
Moreover, Johnson’s expressed excitement over some subtle offensive tweaks, like running behind a fullback — which suggests a high-volume run-game is coming under defensive-minded Wilks.
In fact, Wilks already said as much at the 2018 Combine, stating: “We want to be productive, number one, in running the football,” Wilks told reporters Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“This is a pass-happy league,” Wilks emphasized several times. “It’s my philosophy as a head coach — I believe in establishing the run. And that’s what we’re going to do… As a defensive coordinator, there’s nothing more demoralizing to a team than being able to run the ball… When you look at some of the premier running backs in the National Football League, we have one right here in (David) Johnson.”
He’ll also benefit from new RB Coach Kirby Wilson, who has coached some of the best out of Curtis Martin, Emmitt Smith, and Adrian Peterson. According to DJ, Wilson is already “always in my ear” and preaching the little intracicies to take his game to the next level.
All great news for Johnson. Despite falling to 5-6 in drafts, he’s in position to score the most FPs in 2018, making the 6th pick an amazing place to draft.