D'Ernest Johnson

D'Ernest Johnson

Running Back #0
Team: Cleveland Browns
Ht / Wt:5'10" / 204 lb.
College:South Florida
Drafted:2019 / UDFA

D'Ernest Johnson: Kickoff return leads to score

Johnson returned two kickoffs for 76 yards and one punt return for nine yards in a 33-23 loss to the Bengals in Week 17.

Analysis: Johnson returned the opening kickoff 47 yards, which set up Cleveland's first score 81 seconds into the game. The 23-year-old running back had some early contributions on offense in 2019 while Dontrell Hilliard was sidelined due to a concussion and Kareem Hunt served an eight-game suspension, but he was mainly a special teams contributor once those two backs were available. He was the primary returner for the final two games after Hilliard sustained a season-ending knee injury. The all-purpose back in South Florida is under team control for another two seasons, so he's expected to compete for a job as the third running back and primary returner.

January 1, 2020 8:53 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Back to third on depth chart

With Dontrell Hilliard (concussion) returning to practice, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Johnson becomes third on the running back depth chart leading up Week 3 against the Rams.

Analysis: Johnson was a respectable fill-in last week as the primary backup to Nick Chubb, catching three passes for 42 yards and adding eight yards on the ground. During the Browns' Week 1 loss, when all of their backs were healthy, Johnson was limited to just nine snaps (12 percent).

September 18, 2019 7:25 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Thus far adequate as Chubb's backup

Johnson ran for just eight yards on three carries, but added 42 receiving yards on three catches during Monday's 23-3 win against the Jets.

Analysis: The 23-year-old back has made the most of limited opportunities, flashing with a 13-yard scamper on his lone rush carry in Week 1 against the Titans, and collecting a 27-yard reception on Monday Night Football against the Jets. Johnson will continue to serve in a complementary role in Week 3 when Cleveland plays host to the Rams, and a defense that has thus far ranked in the better half of the league against the run, but has given up the ninth-most receiving yards to opposing backs.

September 16, 2019 11:22 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Moves up depth chart

Johnson had one carry for 13 yards and returned one kick for 23 yards in Sunday's 43-13 loss to the Titans in Week 1.

Analysis: Johnson became the No. 2 back and No. 1 kick returner midway through the game when Dontrell Hilliard left with a concussion in the third quarter. Hilliard's entered the NFL concussion protocol and will be questionable for next Monday's road game against the Jets. That means Johnson is in line to back up starter Nick Chubb next week.

September 8, 2019 4:30 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Makes roster

Johnson survived the final cuts and made the Browns roster.

Analysis: Johnson played just three offensive snaps in preseason Week 4 but was the primary punt and kick returner for a second straight week. The return job appears to be his while Dontrell Hilliard, who was in the mix as a returner, is elevated to the No. 2 running back spot behind starter Nick Chubb.

August 31, 2019 7:06 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Yardage leader Friday

Johnson rushed five times for 10 yards and caught three of three targets for a team-high 43 yards in Friday's 13-12 loss to the Buccaneers in preseason Week 3.

Analysis: Johnson was also used as the primary kick and punt returner, adding 37 yards on four punt returns and 56 yards on two kickoffs. He's the Browns preseason leader in rushing and appears to be the team's third running back entering the final week of preparation for the regular season. And with Kareem Hunt slated to serve an eight-game suspension to start the season, Johnson could become the de facto No. 2 running back behind starter Nick Chubb, who has been held out of preseason action.

August 24, 2019 3:50 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Piles up 79 scrimmage yards

Johnson carried 10 times for 53 yards while catching three of three targets for 26 yards and a touchdown during Saturday's 21-18 preseason win over the Colts.

Analysis: Johnson led the team in carries and rushing yards by a hefty margin while adding a six-yard touchdown reception to punctuate his performance. He came in after Kareem Hunt left and seems to he turning heads as the team's most likely No. 3 running back heading into the regular season. Johnson should get another look next week against the Buccaneers, but the starters and second-stringers should see much more run as well.

August 17, 2019 4:26 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Making plays in camp

Johnson worked with the second team during Monday's practice and had two large runs, Scott Patsko of Cleveland.com reports.

Analysis: With Duke Johnson having been traded to Houston, opportunity knocks for Johnson to carve out a reserve role behind Nick Chubb, at least while Kareem Hunt serves his eight-game suspension. Johnson will compete to carve out backup reps alongside Dontrell Hilliard.

August 12, 2019 3:32 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Receiving reps as kick returner

Johnson is competing at kick returner at Browns' workouts, Andrew Gribble of the Browns' official site reports.

Analysis: Along with Antonio Callaway, Dontrell Hilliard and Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, Johnson is one of four players contending for the role on special teams. Johnson showed some open field ability in college at South Florida, averaging 24.4 yards on kick returns and 10.3 yards on punt returns, but likely has the toughest path to earning a roster spot of the four players currently in the mix.

May 22, 2019 7:58 AM EST

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