5 Browns roster bubble players the Steelers should target
By Andrew Falce
Steelers should target Johnson
The only offensive player on this list, D’Ernest Johnson has been a valuable role player with a really incredible story. Cast off from the league and working as a deep-sea fisherman, the Browns ultimately gave Johnson a chance, and he turned into a decent backup running back. He flashes good speed despite not testing as a good athlete and can find running lanes when given the opportunity.
He only has 37 career carries, but he has averaged 5.1 yards per carry in that time. As well, he can serve as a returner if need be and has been an active special teams’ player on coverage units. That ability to be a multi-phase player gives him more value, especially considering what the Steelers need at running back. Najee Harris will take on the brunt of the rushing snaps, so having a good change of pace back that can serve a variety of roles works for a backup this season.
This does present a caveat though. On paper, Johnson and current Steelers back Anthony McFarland shares a lot of similarities, as both try to win with speed over power. McFarland is the far faster player, but if he can’t take the necessary steps forward, the team may have to look elsewhere. Johnson could fill that role while serving a variety of other jobs for the team, so if the Browns cut him, he should be squarely on the Steelers’ radar.