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Camp Spotlight: Running back Kerryon Johnson

KERRYON JOHNSON

Position: Running back

Ht/Wt: 5-11, 206

College: Auburn

Experience: Rookie

Outlook: Lions GM Bob Quinn made it very clear following last season that his team needed to be better running the football.

The selection of Johnson in the second round of this year's draft was part of Quinn's solution, along with the signing of veteran free agent running back LeGarrette Blount, drafting interior lineman Frank Ragnow in the first round, and putting the fullback position back in the offense.

Johnson was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year last year after rushing for 1,391 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns. He's a patient and powerful runner, and is expected to see carries early on alongside Blount in Detroit's backfield.

There will likely be a running back by committee approach to this revamped Lions run game, with Blount and Johnson expected to lead the way.

Practice report: Johnson took a lot of second-team reps Saturday with Blount working a lot with the first team.

Johnson didn't catch a lot of passes in college – 55 in three years – but has shown early on in training camp it can be part of his game. Twice in 7-on-7 drills Saturday, Johnson was able to find the end zone in the passing game. The second time was a particularly nice play, sneaking his way through the line and into the second level before giving veteran linebacker Jonathan Freeny a juke at the goal line and then beating him to the pylon on a short out route.

There was one drill in practice where two defenders were trying to strip the ball from a ball carrier. Johnson was one of the few to let the ball get away.

The Lions will put pads on for the first time Sunday, and then we'll be able to glean a little bit more from Johnson's game, but he's looked comfortable early on in this offense and has shown a nice burst.

Quotable: "I just have to be physical," Johnson said of what he wants to show when the pads come on. "Going from college to the NFL is a whole different ball game, so you can be physical in college and not in the NFL.

"That's something I have to show and we all have to show. That's something that we all put an emphasis on as a team. We have to come out and play physical. That's the brand of football we're building."

View photos of running back Kerryon Johnson from Day 2 of 2018 Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage.

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