*Our RB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*We use the term “Power RB” to separate physically bigger, more between-the-tackles–capable RBs from our “speed RBs” group. “Speed RBs” are physically smaller, but much faster/quicker, and less likely to flourish between the tackles.

 

One of the best all-around football assets/weapons in this year’s draft, among the RB prospects, is Maryland’s Ty Johnson…a guy who did not get an invite to the Senior Bowl or NFL Combine. 

When I say ‘all-around’…I mean that he offers more than just ‘athletic’ and ‘runs the ball well’. He can run the ball fine, but he is very good in the passing game, he can block, and he’s one of the best kick returners in the class…a return TD in each of his last two college seasons as an on and off return option for the Terrapins. 

I noticed Johnson’s talent during the East-West Shrine week. Doing some preview scouting of him ahead of the game and week of practices, he was clearly the best RB prospect there. Physically talented and tough/high effort. I thought for sure he’d earn a Combine invite, but he was denied. Johnson not at the Combine and Senior Bowl, but Karan Higdon getting invited is a travesty, and I could name many more RB prospects to compare in that vein as well. Where you go to school is huge in this early beauty contest…and then if you’re an offensive skill player and you go to Maryland of your own free will and walk into a poorly run program and play in a weak offense your entire career – it’s easy to get ignored. Starting QBs for Maryland barely averaged a TD pass per game the past three seasons during Johnson’s play there. 

The Maryland offense and team/organization were a mess…four head coaches in four seasons for Johnson during his time there.  

Johnson rushed for 1,004 yards averaging a stunning 9.1 yards per carry as a sophomore and then was never pushed as much after that…working in a bizarre split role with several other options the team used in 2018 and a part of a duo in 2017. 

Watching the tape, either Maryland’s offense/blocking is an inferior joke in the Big Ten or Johnson is a bad running back. I don’t think he’s a bad running back. When facing equally weak Big Ten teams and lesser opponents, when Johnson got the chance – he ran wild. Against the Ohio State’s, Michigan’s, etc., of the Big Ten world -- Johnson was stuffed a lot and the Maryland offense could barely score. I think it was the surroundings because Johnson showed plenty of spark when he had any space to run. 

Johnson was on his way to an undrafted status in 2019, but then he clocked in the 4.2s and 4.3s at his Pro Day and suddenly everyone wanted to know more, and his stock is rising to 6th-7th-round pick. 

Johnson ran that fast even though he added 5+ pounds to get to 217 for his Pro Day (he played around 210 pounds much of his college career). He also benched an impressive 27 reps at his Pro Day. Speed and power. Johnson doesn’t have the greatest instincts as a runner, but he’s tough/fearless and if he gets an opening…he’s gone. He has ‘plus’ hands out of the backfield, but hard to notice when Maryland could barely complete forward passes. 

In addition to being a physical talent, Johnson was named to an all-Academic Big Ten team during his years. He’s a smart, happy, humble young man in interviews. He really came off well, really impressed people personally at the East-West Shrine week. 

There’s a lot to love here, and worst case you get an ace kick return weapon. 

  

Ty Johnson, Through the Lens of Our RB Scouting Algorithm:


13 times in his college career, he saw 11 or more carries and averaged: 12.8 carries, 92.4 yards rushing (7.2 ypc) per game and rushed for 7 TDs. 

In 2016, Johnson was #1 in all the NCAA qualifiers with a 9.1 yards per carry average.

Against Temple, Iowa, and Michigan in 2018…Maryland was beaten so badly, so quickly that the Terps just stopped running. Johnson averaged 5.0 carries in those three games…pulling down his season tallies in the process. He also missed a couple of games with a calf injury.

He had ten games with 100+ yards rushing, and eight of them coming on 13 carries or fewer in the game. 


2019 Pro Day Measurables…

5’10.6”/217

4.35 40-time

27 bench reps, 34.0” vertical, 10’3” broad jump




The Historical RB Prospects to Whom Ty Johnson Most Compares Within Our System:


Ty Johnson is on the fence, in our system, of where we classify the bigger, strong-style RBs versus the smaller, speedier RB types. The lines are getting more blurred on dividing RB styles every year. 

To me, Johnson belongs with the smaller, speedy group even though he just pushed himself to 215+ pounds and can bench press like an offensive lineman. He’ll likely be asked to be part of a duo and be the speed guy in it in the pros.

Of all the comps, DeAngelo Williams is who I see him having some upside like, but Williams was a clear star in college…Johnson has either been hidden by Maryland or he just doesn’t have the full NFL star ability. There is hope/upside that it exists. 


RB Score

RB-Re

RB-ru

Last

First

College

Yr

H

H

W

Speed Metric

Agility Metric

Power Metric

8.059

8.03

7.54

Johnson

Ty

Maryland

2019

5

10.6

215

11.24

8.40

10.37

9.047

4.38

7.58

McKinnon

Jerick

Ga So.

2014

5

8.7

209

9.06

9.89

13.00

8.246

7.07

6.65

Arrington 

JJ

California

2005

5

8.7

214

9.92

13.05

7.38

12.538

4.24

9.88

Mathews

Ryan

Fresno St

2010

5

11.5

218

11.09

4.66

8.77

12.977

8.81

11.29

Williams 

DeAnglo

Memphis

2006

5

9.0

214

9.04

15.38

11.52

7.236

4.70

6.08

Karim 

Deji

So Illinois

2010

5

8.5

209

9.74

5.34

7.98

5.719

4.88

4.20

Williams 

Carnell

Auburn

2005

5

10.7

217

6.08

5.69

7.86


*A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of RBs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL RB.

All of the RB ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall rating/score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for the strength of opponents faced, mixed with all the physical measurement metrics – then compared/rated historically within our database and formulas. More of a traditional three-down search – runner, blocker, and receiver.

*RB-Re score = Our new formula/rating that attempts to identify and quantify a prospect's receiving skills even deeper than in our original formulas. RB prospects can now make it/thrive in the NFL strictly based on their receiving skills – it is an individual attribute sought out for the NFL and no longer dismissed or overlooked. Our rating combines a study of their receiving numbers in college in relation to their offense and opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with hand size measurables, etc.

*RB-Ru score = Our new formula/rating that attempts to classify and quantify an RB prospect's ability strictly as a runner of the ball. Our rating combines a study of their rushing numbers in college in relation to their offense and strength of opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with various size measurables, etc.

Raw Speed Metric = A combination of several speed and size measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.

Agility Metric = A combination of several speed and agility measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.

2019 NFL Draft Outlook:

The latest projections are moving him to the 6th-7th-round, but 5th-round wouldn’t shock me if scouts really understood how much ‘Maryland’ may have held him back. I’ll bet they don’t, and he still goes 6th-round because people see the great 40-times and size at his pro Day.

If I were an NFL GM, this is the kind of situation I love and justifies my ‘never take a running back with a top 100 overall pick’ theory. Had Johnson gone to Michigan or Ohio State or anywhere else that had gravitas…he’s a top 100 pick with his athleticism and abilities. In reality, he’s going to go #200+…a severe discount just because he didn’t go to a sexy enough school or situation. Johnson is going to be a great bargain in 2019. 


NFL Outlook:   

Johnson has a better shot for touches/impact quicker in the NFL because he’s going to be a kick return option right away. He can garner attention there and coaches can connect his return abilities to becoming a weapon in their offense. 

At minimum, Johnson is a nice special teamer and rotational running back. Best case, a team pushes Johnson as their home run hitting RB as part of a nice duo and Johnson hits a few homeruns and grabs everyone’s attention. In a perfect world, he could be the ‘Phillip Lindsay out of nowhere’ RB of 2019. 







4/7/2019