4 things to know about new Bears RB Roschon Johnson
The Chicago Bears opened up Day 3 of the NFL Draft by adding a legitimate offensive weapon to the mix. Texas Running back Roschon Johnson was drafted by the Bears with the No. 115 pick in the fourth round. The Bears initially held the top spot of the day at No. 103 but traded down 12 spots with the New Orleans Saints, picking up pick No. 148 in the fifth round as well.
Johnson comes to the Bears after backing up star running back Bijan Robinson, but is an effective player in his own right. He’s a punishing runner who can break tackles and should compete for touches almost immediately on offense with the likes of Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman.
Here are a few things to know about the newest Bears running back.
1. He played behind star RB Bijan Robinson
Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) runs the ball. Texas took on Texas Christian University at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on Oct. 2, 2021.
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Unfamiliar with Johnson as a player? That could be due to the fact he carried the ball sparingly while playing behind star running back Bijan Robinson. Johnson only carried the ball 93 times in 2022, but totaled 554 yards and five touchdowns. Robinson dominated the carries with 258, rushing for 1,580 yards and 18 touchdowns. Johnson likely would have been a higher pick and more productive player elsewhere. It just so happens he was behind the best back of the year.
2. Robinson calls Johnson his favorite teammate ever
AUSTIN, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 17: Roschon Johnson #2 of the Texas Longhorns scores a touchdown in the second quarter against the UTSA Roadrunners at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
The duo of Robinson and Johnson was incredible on he field for Texas, but there was also a great amount of respect between the two, especially on Robinson’s part. Robinson had high praise for his teammate. “Roschon is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” he told the media at the NFL Combine via Greg Braggs Jr. of CHGO. “He brings out so much in a player and a team. Just how he goes about being a leader to not just his teammates but everyone in the community.”
Here's what Bijan Robinson had to say about Roschon Johnson: pic.twitter.com/h2DWopjMI4
— Greg Braggs Jr. (@GBraggsJr23) April 29, 2023
Robinson finished his praise by saying Johnson is “the other great running back in this class” along with himself, of course. The Bears have shown they value character players in the draft and that was evident with the Johnson selection.
3. Johnson is excellent in pass protection
Nov 19, 2022; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Roschon Johnson (2) runs the ball during the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Johnson is a physical player at the running back position and isn’t afraid to pop defenders when put in pass protection. That should be music to Bears fans and quarterback Justin Fields’ ears. The team’s best pass protecting running back last season was David Montgomery, who left to go to the Detroit Lions in free agency. They need a player who can step up when Fields drops back to pass. ESPN’s Louis Riddick says “this guy will absolutely stone you” when it comes to pass protection.
Louis Riddick on Roschon Johnson in pass pro. 🐻🔥 pic.twitter.com/1SkXaD0LkU
— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) April 29, 2023
4. He's a former quarterback
Dec 18, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the ball in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
NFL fans everywhere watched last year’s NFC Championship game where the San Francisco 49ers lost both of their quarterbacks and couldn’t complete a pass downfield. If the Bears ever find themselves in that position (God forbid), at least they have an emergency option with Johnson. He came into college as a 4-star quarterback recruit in high school but switched to running back. He completed 143 passes for 2,318 yards and 26 touchdowns in his final season at Port Neches-Groves High School, according to Bleacher Report.