May 16, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Storm Johnson (34) runs during rookie minicamp at Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Could Storm Johnson Become Starter for Jacksonville Jaguars?

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The offseason provided a major flip-flop for the Jacksonville Jaguars on both sides of the ball. Bringing in guys like Storm Johnson and Marqise Lee could prove to be very profitable for the team in the long term, but don’t be shocked to see some of these young playmakers step in right away.

The Jaguars need a difference-maker leading the way on their offense. Storm Johnson proved to be a workhorse at UCF, something that clearly stood out to Jacksonville during the draft process.

They got a steal in the 7th round and it might just show early in the 2014 season.

Many are spotlighting the addition of Toby Gerhart from Minnesota. He’s a bulldozing “fullback presence” that is supposed to lead Jedd Fisch’s offense this year, but don’t be convinced if he turns out to be another one of those typical “Jacksonville flops”.

His 2013 tape showed plenty of long runs and solid carries, but his style of play isn’t going to translate to elite starting status in the NFL. An all-effort guy that will thrive off of his huge, bulky presence on the field, Gerhart has shown flashes of brilliance. While he is pretty good on his feet, he doesn’t have the burst and quickness on his feet to take 20-25 carries game after game.

He’ll get shut down after a few starts due to his one-dimensional game – something that is going to provide a huge opportunity for someone like Storm Johnson.

We all saw what Johnson did at the college level, and there’s no reason to believe that his skills won’t transfer over to the NFL. He’s going to work hard in training camp – it’s just a matter of production at this point. Coaches will love what they see on the practice field…it’s up to Johnson to make big-time plays in his pre-season snaps.

He’ll have to battle with Jordan Todman, but I don’t see this being much of an issue. Todman is an average back at-best, proving that his spot on the depth chart is in serious jeopardy with the former UCF workhorse behind him.

If Gerhart does begin to look like a flop, will the Jaguars call upon Johnson earlier than expected?

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Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Storm Johnson Toby Gerhart

  • joe

    You make Gerhart sound like the most horrible rb ever. He did pretty well last year and he’s a beast. We’ll see but I am a huge fan of Storm Johnson, a tall but deceptively fast rb.

    • Joe Wedra

      He did do well last year, but he’s effective in HIS role – a change-of-pace back. I’m not saying he won’t do well if he splits carries 30/70, just that he won’t thrive in a starting role.

      • Matthew

        you make it sound like he was an undrafted free agent that has only gotten carries as a change of pace back. check out his stats in his starts – he averages well over 4 yards per game in those scenarios. do i think he’s going to be a top 5 nfl running back? probably not, but i think he can be extremely solid.

        and by the way, all those “jacksonville flops” were done by other regimes. not that this one won’t swing and miss occasionally, but you make it sound like caldwell has been steering the ship the past 10 years.

  • joe

    I’ve been recently saying the first eagles game vs Jacksonville could be a trap game. They got Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee, two projected number one receivers. Then Storm Johnson, not sure if Bortles will start but it could very well be one of those unexpected games. They have a good defense too, added lots of talent in FA and draft. I expect it to be a tough game.

    • Matthew

      rookie receivers usually don’t make an immediate impact. to think both will right away is HIGHLY unlikely. will be interesting to at least see how these guys do in the preseason.

  • JacksonVille

    Gerhart’s 2014 tape? Wow, talk about advanced scouting.

    • Joe Wedra

      Oops. Thanks for that. That one’s on me – slipped by in the editing process.

  • Bobby Postma

    I honestly think if anyone is going to unseed Gerhart it will be shoelace. He is poised for a breakout year and if he can bring over the confidence and ball security he had shown so far I think he will be in beast mode. But I think gerhart keeps the start. My projection is gerhart 1, shoelace backup, and storm 3rd, but from what we seen so far in our offense, our third string gets in alot due to fatigue and injury so it could go anyway. But it’s going to be weird not seeing mojo out there

  • Mike Brown

    Coach Bradley has only committed to giving Gerhart about 18 touches per game. That could always change, but there should be room for both to co-exist without having to lose Gerhart in the process. Denard Robinson shouldn’t affect either of these two as I see them using him all over the place even though they are focusing him on the RB position. With the youth of the Wideouts, I wouldn’t be surprised if they used a lot of two RB sets to utilize Gerhart/Johnson’s power running while also profiting from the pass catching ability and open-field speed of Denard. I guess we’ll have to see though.

  • Downonthebayou

    article doesn’t make sense saying no reason tobelieve Johnson’s skills won’t translate from college to the NFL but were supposed to beleive Gerhart’s skills won’t translate FROM the Vikings to another NFL team in a bigger role?

    Change of pace back? Did you watch him play at all. There really wasn’t a change of pace back in Minny. Ap is all day. The majority of Gerharts carries came in starts when Peterson was hurt. If Peterson started and Gerhart got a decent amount it was because Peterson was not 100 percent. His worst year ypc wise is when he was used soley as change of pace. He gets better as the game goes on

  • Downonthebayou

    article doesn’t make sense saying no reason to believe Johnson’s skills
    won’t translate from college to the NFL but were supposed to believe
    Gerhart’s skills won’t translate FROM the Vikings to another NFL team in
    a bigger role?

    and did you watch Gerhart play? at all? most of his yards came when he STARTED, or a got a decent amount of carries because Peterson wasn’t 100 percent, he was no “change of pace back”, in 2012 he didn’t have that kind of role because Peterson was 100 percent, he got 6 carries twice, which was his highest workload, and that year was his worst ypc wise, he gets better as he gets more carries.

    Fullback presence? you know his elusiveness rating was twice that of Peterson. Yeah he may not always make someone completely miss because he is a 230 pound back, but he also doesn’t have a kamizkaze run over everybody style like ppl think, he usually makes someone miss just enough to where they can’t get a good angle on him and he runs through their poor tackles. Even if he did lack the burst and quickness, it still wouldn’t matter, Thomas Jones was smaller, no burst, no wiggle/quickness, only got what the blocking gave him, only to be one of the few people to have 10k rushing in his career.

    Storm Johnson : ” Has tight hips and struggles to string moves together. Lacks elite
    top-end speed — cannot gain the edge or pull away from the pack. Gears
    down and chops his steps to cut. Too often tripped up by ankle tackles.
    Pass protection needs work. Shaky ball security — eight fumbles in 366
    carries 2012-13 (always totes in right hand). Only one year as a feature
    back. ”

    he was what, 6 foot 209 pounds running slower than Gerhart? didn’t jump as high as Gerhart either “but wait, isn’t jumping a good measure of burst?” yeah, 38 inch vertical probably means you have burst. (not to mention Gerhart has a better 10 yard split, and who knows how faster his 3 cone drill and shuttle are because Storm didn’t run those, they measure quickness, and Gerhart was a top performer in both).

    7th round pick for a reason, solid depth for right now, if anyone will cut into Gerhart’s carries it will be Denard, a good speed/power duo. Storm has to improve, his carries are predicted to be around 20 this year, what Denard got last year. Pass protection and fumbling will keep a back off the field.

    as for 20 to 25 carries a game? no back has averaged 25 a game since Larry Johnson. If they do its closer to 20. No back averaged 20 last year, close with 19. He broke off a 20+ run every 9 carries last year, that doesn’t include the many he has had for about 15 to 19.