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The Case For Jeremiah Johnson


I remember most of the Texans Talk message board complaining when Houston drafted Steve Slaton out of West Virginia with a 3rd round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Most of this was because they were still pissed that we had passed up on the opportunity to take Illinois standout Rashard Mendenhall with our first round selection. But I had a good feeling about Steve Slaton.

Being a fan of SEC football, I knew all about Steve Slaton. He had shredded Georgia for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the 2006 Sugar Bowl. So yes, I knew what Slaton was capable of, being a Bulldogs fan. I immediately backed him as our best pick of that draft. This was met with a whole lot of "You’re crazy, dude" from fellow posters.

Now I’m not saying I’m always right or anything even close to that. I was wrong about Jared Zabransky. I was wrong about David Carr, who wasn’t? But I’ve got that same feeling about Jeremiah Johnson that I had about Steve Slaton.

I know people already have Arian Foster or even Ryan Moats in front of Johnson on their personal depth charts, but I believe that JJ is going to be too good to just stash on the practice squad. He has already played in a zone blocking scheme and plays terrific smash-mouth football. He can make the one cut and run, has breakaway speed, and a stiff arm to be reckoned with.

One thing working against him is that his game may be too much like Steve Slaton’s. He also has had injury concerns, which is probably the only reason he didn’t get drafted. He popped his shoulder out of its socket while blocking for his QB in college and it became a recurring problem, but in Martin Riggs fashion (That’s from Lethal Weapon, for you youngsters out there) he got used to popping it back in on his own and staying on the field. He has also been asked by the Texan coaches to drop ten pounds before training camp starts.

This isn’t just a battle between Foster and Johnson. Ryan Moats showed brief flashes of brilliance last season and deserves a look. Even though I am not, and never was, a fan of bringing in Chris Brown, the fact remains that he is still here. And as long as he has a pulse and is able to suit up, the coaches seem to want to save face on his signing and give him the compliment role to Slaton.

Personally, I am more concerned with Arian Foster’s knee history than I am about Jeremiah Johnson’s shoulder popping problem. Perhaps I just like the underdog. Who knows? But I just have a good feeling about the future of Jeremiah in this league.

What say you, Texans fans?