Eagles claim former Lions RB Kerryon Johnson off waivers

NFL: SEP 15 Chargers at Lions
DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (33) catches a pass near the sidelines and out runs the defense for a touchdown during the Detroit Lions versus Los Angeles Chargers game on Sunday September 15, 2019 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles ticked another minor roster need off their checklist on Friday afternoon, claiming Kerryon Johnson off the waiver wire. Here’s all you need to know.

Kerryon Johnson was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft and was released following this year’s Draft. The Lions added D’Andre Swift to their backfield last year after Johnson was unable to prove he could stay healthy, and they then went on to sign Jamaal Williams. They then drafted Jermar Jefferson, somewhat making Johnson expendable.

Still only 23-years-old, Johnson has a lot of upside, but it’s plagued with injury concerns. He’s dealt with a plethora of knee injuries since entering the NFL. He’s torn his meniscus, had a grade 1 sprain, and suffered two more minor injuries to the same leg in just three years.

He’s amassed 1,225 yards and 8 touchdowns over three years, but the majority of those came in his first two seasons. His first full healthy campaign came in 2020 where he acted as a change of pace back, amassing 181 yards and a touchdown on 52 carries. He also posted 187 yards on 19 receptions, but his production was some way of what Lions fans were hoping for.

Only making matters worse was the fact that Adrian Peterson entered the fold and still averaged 3.9 yards per carry, while Johnson’s explosiveness looked to dissipate, averaging just 3.5 per carry behind he same O-line. Swift, however averaged 4.6 as a rookie.

The Auburn product is clearly a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Eagles who will provide direct competition to Jordan Howard, a similarly styled and talented back who has also been slowed by injuries. The pair will battle for the role of a third-down running back behind the new-look backfield of Miles Sanders and Kenny Gainwell.

If he can stay healthy and find his old form, the Eagles will have an absolute steal, although it is clearly a punt at this point.

Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire