Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio Boiler Room compares the footwork of 2019 NFL Draft prospect RB Ty Johnson and former NFL RB Arian Foster to showcase what Johnson does well and what else he can learn.
Ty Johnson has the raw material of an NFL running back. He’s quick, he’s fast, and he can cut. A skilled return specialist, Johnson can plant, cut downhill, and reach top speed with notable acceleration. He beats a lot of defender angles at Maryland.
He could beat more.
Footwork sets the foundation for winning space, which affords the player to accelerate earlier than he would without good footwork. In this week’s Boiler Room, I examine four of Johnson’s runs, highlight his footwork, and reveal how he can improve his footwork to fully activate his acceleration.
One play includes a solution that I showed in an NFL Lens featuring former NFL running back Arian Foster, which I include in the analysis. The two plays are near mirror-images, except Foster knows how to approach the block with an advanced footwork technique that Johnson does not know.
Considering that Johnson displays some skill with footwork patterns, it’s not out of the question for him to develop more. The bigger question is whether he has the perception and creativity to recognize the situations to use the appropriate moves.
It’s easier to set up defenders while heading downhill and there are no teammates to negotiate. This is a simple footwork scenario. To continue the piano analogy from the Jarrett Stidham post, it’s like playing the piano with only the right hand.
When trying to set up blockers and avoid defenders while running east-west, it’s more like playing the piano with both hands and singing. If Johnson can learn to provide his own piano accompaniment, his prospects will shine all the brighter.
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