5 questions for Houston Texans entering 2020 season
4. Will David Johnson be able to resurrect his career?
After starting off his NFL career buried on the depth chart behind the likes of Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington, and Stepfan Taylor, David Johnson had a season for the ages in 2016. He logged 1,239 rushing yards and 879 receiving yards for a grand total of 2,118 yards from scrimmage — along with 16 rushing touchdowns and four receiving touchdowns (20 TDs total).
It was one of the best seasons for a running back ever.
Naturally, optimism was sky-high entering the 2017 season down in Phoenix, Arizona.
Johnson was the consensus No. 1 overall pick in virtually every fantasy football draft held that year, and “DJ” himself had claimed to set his sights on becoming the first player to log 1,000 yards each in rushing and receiving since Marshall Faulk did it in 1999.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t happen. Johnson injured his wrist in the first game of the year and ended up missing the remainder of the 2017 season. He came back to play a full 16-game season in 2018, and while his totals were still impressive (940 rushing, 446 receiving, 10 total TDs), they didn’t come close to the kind of breakout year he had in ’16.
By 2019, Johnson was losing snaps to ex-Dolphin Kenyan Drake in Kliff Kingsbury’s new Arizona Air Raid offense. He finished third in total rushing on the year behind Drake and rookie QB Kyler Murray.
To add insult to injury, he had just 42 more rushing yards than second-year back Chase Edmonds in the same number of games played — and Edmonds received 34 less carries overall.
Traded back in March as part of the Hopkins deal, can Johnson get back to his 2016-level now that he has a change of scenery? No one is expecting him to put up the kind of numbers he once promised he’d be able to deliver, but at the very least, he needs to make O’Brien look like he didn’t just execute one of the dumbest trades ever seen in the NFL.
Pressure’s on, DJ.