Browns RB coach: Duke Johnson 'an ultimate weapon'

We kicked off our annual summertime Making the Leap series on Thursday with Houston Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

So who else made the list?

We'll let you find out in real time, but here's a spoiler alert for good measure: Cleveland running back Duke Johnson made the cut. That's no surprise to new Browns run game coordinator Kirby Wilson, who recently called Johnson "an ultimate weapon."

"I thought Duke has a lot of those qualities that a lot of great running backs have, in terms of being a receiver," Wilson said, per Dan Labbe of The Plain Dealer. "He's got receiver background, he played it in high school, and he's a playmaker whether he's spread out or coming out of the back field. He's very comfortable in space, he's got natural ability to catch the football, and he knows how to run routes."

Johnson saw just 104 carries as a rookie last autumn, but served as a difference-maker through the air, hauling in 61 catches for 534 yards and a touchdown. Along the way, he showed flashes of tantalizing lateral movement and pure speed.

"I'm looking forward to working with him. I think he's very talented," said Browns coach Hue Jackson, who simultanously issued a challenge for Johnson's backfield mate, Isaiah Crowell, saying: "I think he has the characteristics of a back that can be a big-time runner but he needs to do it very consistently and kind of in the way that we want it done, so I think he's up to the challenge."

We'll dig more into Johnson next week, but here's the biggest vote of confidence from Jackson: Outside of adding former Bengals back Terrell Watson, the Browns did very little to shake up last year's backfield. Crowell -- and especially Johnson -- are bound to see plenty of work this season for a Cleveland attack set to run the ball a ton.

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