The Chicago Bears selected Texas running back Roschon Johnson in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Bears initially held the first pick in Round 4 but traded back with the New Orleans Saints to No. 115.
Johnson (6-foot, 220 pounds) profiles as a lead back in the NFL. His blend of plus size, vision, tackle-breaking power, and pass-protection skills will lead to meaningful reps early in his career.
Roschon Johnson averaged six yards per carry in 2022 (finished the season with 554 yards and six scores) while backing up Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Bijan Robinson. If Johnson had the gig to himself, he would’ve been one of the nation’s most productive running backs and, most likely, a much higher draft pick.
“Power back with bruising frame who fits the football cliche of “tough, smart and dependable.” Johnson isn’t overly creative and lacks the juice to hit quick-closing NFL holes,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein wrote in his scouting report. “He needs it blocked up so he can get downhill and uncork his power on the second level. While his lack of suddenness makes him somewhat limited as a runner, he will be better at stuffing blitzers than many of the No. 3 backs currently in the league. Johnson might be fighting off competition every year in camp, but his toughness and four-phase special teams value could give him an advantage.”
Johnson’s addition clouds the Chicago Bears running back depth chart. Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman were expected to split the workload, but Johnson will prove too talented not to factor into the rotation. A three-headed monster could be coming out of the backfield for the Bears in 2023.
Adding a player like Roschon Johnson in the fourth round is a great use of an early day-three pick. He has as much upside as the running backs who went much earlier in the 2023 draft, but Ryan Poles stuck to his board and focused on more premium positions in the first three rounds.
Now, Chicago has a potential bell cow back to pair with Justin Fields for the next several seasons. I’m a fan of this selection.