The Eagles are set for the present with DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles forming an impressive trio at running back. Still, while the Eagles running back position is ideal in the present, it's never too early to look into the future. The Eagles may have a duel threat option for the future with Northern Iowa's David Johnson.
A Clinton, Iowa native, Johnson committed to Northern Iowa in 2010. He redshirted as a freshman, but started 5-of-13 games in his first year of action. He tallied 1,244 all-purpose yards in those contests. He ran for 1,021 and 13 rushing touchdowns as a sophomore in 11 games (seven starts).
As a redshirt junior, Johnson became the full-time starter. He ran 222 times for 1,286 yards and had 393 receiving yards. Johnson ran for another 1,000 yard season last season and became the most productive player in school history.
He was invited to and stood out at the Reese's Senior Bowl.
Weight: 224 lbs.
Arm Length: 31 1/4"
Hands: 9 5/8"
40: 4.50 sec. (Fourth among RBs in 2015)
Bench: 25 reps. (Tied for fourth among RBs in 2015)
3-Cone: 6.82 sec. (Second among RBs in 2015)
Vertical Jump: 41.5 inch (Second among RBs in 2015)
Broad Jump: 127.0 inch (Second among RBs in 2015)
Shuttle: 4.27 sec.
Johnson's biggest assets are his hands. He can catch the ball like a receiver and can be used at the position. A versatile runner, Johnson has a good change of direction. He has good balance as a runner and is dangerous in the open field. He has good long-end speed and slides through tight holes. He has a quality cutback move and explodes through openings with confidence. He is ridiculously athletic and can make defenders miss in the open field.
Johnson is lanky and looks more like a receiver than a running back. He's a willing blocker but he's not very proficient at it. While he is a fantastic receiver, it almost seems like he isn't playing the right position at times. He is an upright runner which makes it hard for him to avoid hits.
It looks like the Eagles will use a rotation at running back this season. That's why a player like Johnson makes sense. He could be used on passing downs, especially on plays that involve two running backs. He and Sproles in the backfield could create a lot of mismatches for Chip Kelly. He is likely to go in the third or fourth round during draft weekend.