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: Plays familiar role in playoff loss

Johnson did not play on offense and returned two kickoffs for 37 yards in Sunday's 22-17 playoff loss to Kansas City.

Analysis: Johnson was a distant third on the depth chart behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt all season while appearing in all 16 regular season games and both playoff contests. He had 33 carries for 166 yards while playing 81 snaps. Both Chubb and Hunt are under contract for 2021, and no change is expected for the running back depth chart. Johnson will be the primary kick and punt returner entering 2021 training camp, but teams typically bring in other candidates to challenge for return jobs.

January 18, 2021 5:43 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Returns all kicks

Johnson returned three kickoffs for 79 yards and two punts for 13 yards in Sunday's 23-16 loss to the Jets.

Analysis: Johnson's normally Cleveland's kick returner, but he added a second duty Sunday with Donovan Peoples-Jones added to the COVID-19 list for the game.

December 28, 2020 4:39 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Ready for Week 16

Johnson (groin) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Jets, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: The 24-year-old was limited by the groin injury at the start of the week, but he put in a full practice Friday to avoid the questionable tag. Johnson should handle kick return duties and work as Cleveland's No. 3 running back behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt on Sunday.

December 25, 2020 1:26 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Dealing with groin injury

Johnson (groin) was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Johnson ran out last Sunday's win over the Giants to provide Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt with some rest, logging four carries for 24 yards, but he appears to have gotten nicked up in the process. He'll have two more chances to upgrade his activity ahead of Week 16's road game against the Jets.

December 23, 2020 2:41 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Finishes game

Johnson has four carries for 24 yards and returned one kickoff for 16 yards in Sunday's 20-6 win over the Giants.

Analysis: Johnson had his first carries since Week 8, finishing the game on the Browns' final drive. Since Nick Chubb returned from an injury following a Week 9 bye, Johnson's been relegated to kick return duty.

December 21, 2020 2:30 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Makes special teams impact

Johnson averaged 31 yards on three kickoff returns in Sunday's 27-25 win over Jacksonville.

Analysis: Johnson, who played three snaps as a running back, has fallen off the offensive radar since Nick Chubb returned from a knee injury, but he's resurfaced as the Browns' primary kick returner. He had 43-yard and 32-yard returns that put the Browns in position to respond to Jacksonville scores with their own points. As long as Chubb and Kareem Hunt stay healthy, Johnson will have to make contributions on special teams.

November 30, 2020 6:07 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Little use on offense

Johnson played one snap on offense and five special-team snaps in Sunday's 22-17 win over the Eagles.

Analysis: While the Browns have become a run-dominant team, all the attention goes to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Johnson's played one offensive snap since Chubb's return to the active roster Week 10. Johnson did lead the team in kickoff returns, getting two chances (40 yards) while rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones had one (30 yards).

November 23, 2020 5:34 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: No carries with Nick Chubb's return

Johnson garnered zero offensive snaps and five special-teams snaps during Sunday's 10-7 win against the Texans.

Analysis: With Nick Chubb returning from a knee injury that had held him out since Oct. 4, Johnson was relegated to a special-teams role. Johnson's involvement in the offense had been fading in recent appearances, as he only accumulated 51 scrimmage yards on 15 combined offensive touches Weeks 5 through 10, after racking up 95 yards on 13 carries the game Chubb went down against the Cowboys in Week 4. Heading into a matchup against the Eagles, Johnson sits a distant third on Cleveland's RB depth chart behind Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

November 17, 2020 5:05 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Three touches in loss

Johnson carried twice for six yards and caught is lone target for five yards in Sunday's 16-6 loss to the Raiders.

Analysis: Johnson's had a total of 17 touches in the four games since a breakout performance in the Week 4 win over Dallas. With a bye week looming and Nick Chubb (knee) eligible to return from injured reserve Week 10, the loss to Las Vegas may have been the window shutting on Johnson's offensive relevance.

November 2, 2020 5:20 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: One carry in win

Johnson had one carry for three yards and was not targeted in Sunday's 37-34 win over the Bengals.

Analysis: Since his 95-yard outburst in a Week 4 win over the Cowboys, Johnson's had fewer touches in each successive week. He's gone from 13 touches to nine to four and now one. His window of opportunity is closing soon. The Browns are at home Week 8 against Las Vegas before a bye week. After that, Nick Chubb (knee) is expected to return, which will relegate Johnson to third on the depth chart.

October 26, 2020 5:49 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: No room, role in Week 6 loss

Johnson carried four times for one yard and was targeted once in Sunday's 38-7 loss to Pittsburgh.

Analysis: Johnson and the rest of the running backs had few holes to hit and were of little need in Sunday's blowout. With Nick Chubb (knee) sidelined and Kareem Hunt (3.4 YPC) bottled up, there's opportunity for Johnson or Dontrell Hilliard to claim a larger role.

October 19, 2020 4:53 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Modest production in win

Johnson had eight carries for 32 yards and caught his lone target for four yards in Sunday's 32-23 win over the Colts.

Analysis: Johnson moved up to second on the depth chart behind Kareem Hunt, as the Browns cope with the loss to Nick Chubb. Coming off a 95-yard effort in Week 4, Johnson had cache heading into Week 5, particularly with Hunt limited at practices leading up to the game. Indianapolis' stout defense against the run -- they entered allowing 77.0 yards per game, fourth in the NFL -- bottled up Cleveland's ground game, forcing more from the passing game than the ground attack.

October 12, 2020 3:29 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Looking at prime opportunity

Johnson could handle a significant role on offense with Nick Chubb (knee) on IR and expected to miss about six weeks, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Johnson worked alongside Kareem Hunt after Chubb was forced out of Cleveland's Week 4 win over the Cowboys, and he impressed while turning 13 carries into 95 yards. Though Kareem Hunt (groin) is the clear favorite to lead the Browns' backfield until late November, at which point Chubb could return, it wouldn't be out of the question for Johnson to see somewhere in the range of ten carries a week in one of the league's most potent rushing attacks. Additionally, Johnson would stand to inherit a hugely valuable role if Hunt were to exacerbate his groin injury.

October 8, 2020 3:27 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Runs for 95 yards

Johnson carried 13 times for 95 yards during Sunday's 49-38 win over the Cowboys.

Analysis: Johnson got involved in the offense after Nick Chubb (knee) left with an injury and gashed the Dallas defense for 7.3 yards per carry. His long gain went for 28 yards and he impressively finished with more carries than Kareem Hunt, who found the end zone twice on the day. Chubb was able to walk off under his own power, but the extent of his injury remains to be seen. If he is forced to sit out next Sunday's matchup with the Colts, Johnson could receive a healthy workload as a complementary option to Hunt.

October 4, 2020 1:43 PM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Fills in as returner

Johnson entered Sunday's game as the primary returner after JoJo Natson left in the second quarter due to a knee injury.

Analysis: Johnson gained zero yards on one punt return in the third quarter. He's played just three percent of the offensive snaps in 2020, so any contributions Johnson can make are likely on special teams.

September 28, 2020 4:21 AM EST

D'Ernest Johnson: Wins roster spot

Johnson made the Browns' 53-man roster, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: Johnson slots in at third on the depth chart behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. He beat out Dontrell Hilliard, who could return as a member of the practice squad. Johnson's role as a returner is likely the deciding factor. He had four carries and seven targets in 16 games last season.

September 6, 2020 3:53 AM EST

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

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