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Roschon Johnson Fantasy Football Profile: 2023 NFL Rookies and Sleepers

Roschon Johnson - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Former University of Texas running back Roschon Johnson was a strong recruit, rating as a four-star prospect in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite. He was a high school quarterback, but his superb ability as a runner led to him changing positions at the college level.

Johnson had a relatively quiet college career, as he shared the Longhorn backfield with star tailback Bijan Robinson for three seasons. However, Johnson is a talented player in his own right, and his landing spot with the Chicago Bears as a fourth-round pick could produce fantasy success.

How did Johnson's career in Austin unfold? What kind of value will he provide fantasy managers in the NFL? Let's take a deeper look at Johnson's profile.

 

Roschon Johnson NFL Rookie Profile

Team: Chicago Bears 

College: Texas

Height: 6'0 1/4"

Weight: 219

Age: 22 (01/31/2001)

Arm Length: 32"

Hand Size: 9 5/8"

2022 NFL Draft: Round 4, Pick: 13
40-Time: 4.58

 

Solid Freshman Year

Johnson joined a Texas running back group in 2019 that already featured sophomore Keaontay Ingram. The two of them formed a strong two-headed monster in the backfield, with Ingram having a slight edge in volume and production. The team's rushing attack also included quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who led the Longhorns in rushing attempts that season.

Although Johnson was not the featured back, he did have some performances where he received a large workload. His most impressive showing came in late November against Texas Tech; he carried the ball 23 times for 105 yards, and he found the end zone three times. Texas would go on to win the game 49-24.

Johnson concluded his freshman season with 649 yards, averaging 49.9 per game, and eight total touchdowns. He had two 100-yard performances on the ground, plus a third if you include receiving yardage as well. Moreover, he caught multiple passes in seven of 12 appearances.

Opponent Attempts Rush Yds Rush Avg Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD
Louisiana Tech 7 26 3.7 0 2 14 0
LSU 7 32 4.6 0 3 17 0
Rice 11 59 5.4 0 3 30 1
Oklahoma State 9 30 3.3 1 1 15 0
West Virginia 21 121 5.8 0 1 10 0
Oklahoma 8 95 11.9 1 4 23 0
Kansas 11 46 4.2 1 0 0 0
TCU 5 9 1.8 1 1 5 0
Kansas State 5 37 7.4 0 1 7 0
Iowa State 6 18 3.0 0 2 17 0
Baylor 4 22 5.5 0 3 16 0
Texas Tech 23 105 4.6 3 2 4 0
Utah 6 49 8.2 0 0 0 0
Total 123 649 5.3 7 23 158 1

This was an encouraging debut season for Johnson, especially as a former quarterback. Unfortunately, he would be unable to match these season stats again in college.

 

Seasons With Bijan Robinson

Both Johnson and Ingram returned to Texas in 2020 for the pandemic-shortened season. So did five-star recruit and fellow running back Bijan Robinson, who entered Austin with massive expectations. With three backs splitting the carries, none managed to post monster numbers. However, Robinson stood out significantly efficiency-wise, setting the tone for the following two seasons.

Johnson carried the ball 80 times for 418 yards as a sophomore, good for 5.2 yards per carry. By contrast, Robinson's 86 attempts gained 703 yards, so 8.2 yards per carry. Johnson still had his moments though; a 139-yard, three-touchdown outing against Kansas State showcased what he is capable of. The Longhorns won the game by a massive 69-31 margin.

Ingram transferred to USC for his final collegiate season in 2021 after having fallen to third in the pecking order at Texas. This did not bring more production for Johnson, though, as Robinson ate up a larger share of the team's carries than he did as a freshman. While Robinson exploded for over 1,100 yards on the ground, Johnson quietly went to work as the Longhorns' second RB. In the games where Robinson didn't play, Johnson had more of an opportunity. His 179-yard demolition of Kansas State demonstrated his capabilities.

In 2022, the dynamic was again the same. Robinson feasted to an even larger degree than previously (1,580 yards, 18 touchdowns) but Johnson still made the most of his chances. He achieved new career highs in both yards per carry and yards per reception, and he capped off the year with a two-touchdown game against the Baylor Bears.

Season Attempts Rush Yds Rush Avg Rush TD Rec Rec Yds Rec TD
2020 80 418 5.2 6 8 51 1
2021 96 569 5.9 5 11 83 0
2022 93 554 6.0 5 14 128 1

Johnson may not have gotten as many touches as he would have had at another school, but his time in Austin was impressive nonetheless. For instance, he finished inside the top eight rushers in the Big 12 in yards per attempt in each of his four collegiate seasons. His skillset earned him the attention of professional scouts after he departed the Longhorns for the 2023 NFL Draft.

 

Roschon Johnson Draft Stock Movement

According to NFL Mock Draft Database, Johnson was considered a fourth or fifth-round prospect in the early stages of the draft process. His unconventional résumé surely contributed to some hesitation in scouting reports. It is not often that high draft picks never became a top option in college, but Johnson's unique situation behind Robinson, an eventual top-10 choice, held him back.

Roschon Johnson Mock Draft Data

Roschon Johnson Mock Draft Data

As the draft approached, Johnson's stock rose into the third and fourth rounds. Teams doing more research found that he was not only a powerful runner inside the tackles but also a strong pass blocker. His decision to stay at Texas in this era of the transfer portal despite the crowded backfield surely made a great impression on scouts regarding his mindset.

Johnson wound up being a fourth-round selection by the Chicago Bears at the 115th overall slot. He was the eighth running back selected.

 

Roschon Johnson Fantasy Football Outlook

The Bears lost former starter David Montgomery to the rival Detroit Lions in free agency this offseason, leaving the team with a vacancy atop the team's depth chart. Khalil Herbert figures to be the main candidate to take over the number one role, but Johnson and new acquisition D'Onta Foreman will provide hefty competition for snaps as well.

Johnson was lauded for his pass-blocking skills in college, and this attribute should help him find a clearer path to playing time. He is also a capable receiver out of the backfield, and his ability as a special-teamer should also help him win over coaches. Most importantly, he is excellent at picking up yards after contact, as shown by his absurd run against Colorado in the 2020 Alamo Bowl.

This may be a rare case of a player having an easier time finding the field in the NFL than in college. Herbert is a solid player (5.2 true yards per carry in 2022), but Robinson is considered a generational RB talent. The Bears also averaged the second-most rushing attempts per game last season; while a fair number of those were by quarterback Justin Fields, the rushing attack is an area of emphasis for Chicago. The flip side of that is a lack of opportunities through the air, as Bears running backs had the second-fewest targets in the league last season.

Johnson is not a top-tier selection for rookie drafts, but a mid-second-round pick would be a fair spot to select him across formats. For redraft leagues, he is a solid bench stash as the Bears' RB situation works itself out.



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