Atlanta could use a running back to compete with its current crop of Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers and Josh Vaughan. Storm Johnson of Central Florida understands multiple roles in an offense and can provide starting-caliber talent should Jackson get injured again in 2014.
Matt Miller noted in his April 4, 2014 scouting notebook, "Central Florida running back Storm Johnson...has meetings scheduled with the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars." A workout with Atlanta definitely shows the Falcons could have interest in the Golden Knight tailback.
University of Central Florida
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6'0" Weight: 209 pounds
Arm Length: 32" Hand Measurement: 9-1/2"
40 yard dash: 4.54 sec. 10 yard split: 1.66 sec.
Bench Reps: 19 reps Vertical Jump: 35.5" Broad Jump: 10'1"
2013: 13 Games Played, 213 Carries, 1,139 Yards, 14 Touchdowns, 30 Catches, 260 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
2012: 13 Games Played, 113 Carries, 507 Yards, 4 Touchdowns, 10 Catches, 20 Yards
2011: Redshirted due to transferring from the University of Miami
2010: 9 Games Played, 9 Carries, 119 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 1 Catch, 9 Yards, 9 Kick Returns, 194 Yards, 1 Tackle
Johnson is a big-bodied, powerful running back who can break tackles and carry the load for an offense. He’s got good vision and understands which hole he needs to hit the moment he touches the ball. He would be best in a zone-blocking scheme where he could just one-cut-and-go.
On top of his rushing ability, the Central Florida back is one of the best receivers out of the backfield in this year’s class. He is good on screens, but he understands how to run other routes effectively as well and has great hands. His all-around game is one of the best in the draft.
Like most bigger backs, Johnson has issues with pass-protection schemes. The issues seem to stem more from inexperience than anything else, as he has shown he is willing to hit someone if they try to blitz in. He just has trouble knowing exactly who to chip or protect against.
In addition, he has issues with holding onto the ball. His fumbling issues could cause him to drop in the draft, and an NFL running backs coach will have to spend a lot of time with him correcting this problem. However, with correctable weaknesses, Johnson is still a very complete running back.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
While Johnson was never arrested nor suspended, he did have a very public falling out with Al Golden after he transferred from Miami to Central Florida. That could be for a variety of reasons, but when a back as talented as Johnson leaves a program it throws up a red flag.
However, at Central Florida he seemingly had no issues and didn’t seem to mind waiting for playing time in Orlando. The Falcons will have to do some due diligence in regards to the issue he had in Miami, but it could be absolutely nothing outside of two personalities not meshing well.
Johnson is a bruising running back that would fit zone-blocking philosophies better than power-blocking. However, he’s someone an offense can be built around and would be a great fit for a team that just needs a workhorse running back.
Ideally, he gets a shot to play in a change-of-pace role his first couple of seasons until he can truly learn how to improve his pass-blocking. After that, he has the potential to be a guy who sees over 700 snaps in a season for a team as its feature back.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
The Falcons would likely have to spend a fourth- or fifth-round pick to bring in Johnson. It would be a wise move, as he would be an instant upgrade over what Josh Vaughan or Jason Snelling provided to the Falcons over their careers.
Johnson would start out as the third running back on the roster early. After a season or two, he would be upgraded into the starting role and be the bell-cow back for the Falcons. Atlanta would be wise to bring in the Central Florida runner.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.