There are a lot of things to admire about David Johnson’s game. Watching him in the offseason and training camp, it was his hands. The one time heading down the sideline in OTAs, catching the ball on a wheel route above the defender’s head, was memorable even if it was just the summer without pads. The time in camp when he went deep down the field against a linebacker (I don’t recall who) and kept his hands to his side until the last possible moment before — boom! — shooting them up to make the catch, the defender not even realizing the ball was coming because Johnson never gave a sense it was coming.
But then there is a play like the one against Washington, where he is running up the middle and suddenly, it becomes a slalom race for the few yards, except Johnson is moving through live defenders instead of flags. How a guy around 225 pounds is moving like that and moving forward, picking up a chunk of yards, is amazing. His balance is unreal, and his quickness at that size.
I’ve never really watched any video of Johnson in college. Maybe he’s gotten a ton better since April of 2015. But watching him on a daily basis, for him to go in the third round remains a great draft mystery.
UPDATE: Carson Palmer weighed in on the play. “Watched it in slo-mo, four or five times. I was trying to measure how many yards he was covering between bounces. He covered at least three or four yards, and I remember thinking, ‘Man, I’d pop both my Achilles and fracture something in my knee.’ (I thought) how impressive that is and how natural it is for him to do. He does it every game. The play he had in Carolina when he hurdled a guy and then make Luke Kuechly miss when he had him dead to rights. … He makes those plays look easy, and he makes them routine.”
Tags: Carson Palmer, David Johnson
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