Detroit Lions release Kerryon Johnson after just three seasons

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions shockingly release running back Kerryon Johnson.

I began to wonder what the plan for Kerryon Johnson was going to be after the Detroit Lions spent a draft pick on a running back, albeit a seventh-round selection.  Rookie Jermar Jefferson may have a larger role from day one than I initially anticipated.

Also, the Lions recently bolstered the position in free agency, adding the former Green Bay Packer Jamaal Williams.

Lions second-year back D’Andre Swift is expected to be the teams’ feature back moving forward, and the versatile Williams is the perfect insurance policy.

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Williams can also play as a three-down back if needed.  His ability to catch the football will certainly aid quarterback Jared Goff plus he can effectively run between the tackles and is an above-average pass protector.

The Detroit Lions release Kerryon Johnson after just three seasons.

After being selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Kerryon Johnson will be looking for employment elsewhere.

The soon-to-be 24-year old tailback entered the league with plenty of upside but also a lot of injury concerns coming out of Auburn. Johnson has had lingering knee injuries over the course of his career, and they really seemed to limit his explosiveness, especially last season.

Johnson’s best professional year came as a rookie, where he averaged 5.4 yards per carry, totaling 641 yards and three touchdowns on 118 totes.  Johnson appeared in just 18 games over his first two seasons due to injury but was able to play in all 16 last season, playing mostly as a third-down back.

Unlike his first NFL season, Johnson averaged 3.5 yards per carry combined over the past two seasons.

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Johnson’s lack of production is a bit alarming understanding Detroit produced an above-average offensive line last season, yet Johnson averaged a full yard less per attempt than the eventual starter Swift.  Even the corps of Adrian Peterson averaged 3.9 yards per carry last year for the Detroit Lions.