Jacksonville Jaguars: Urban Meyer discusses RB depth, safety position

Urban Meyer, head of the Jacksonville Jaguars(Imagn Images photo pool)
Urban Meyer, head of the Jacksonville Jaguars(Imagn Images photo pool) /
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Jacksonville Jaguars
Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson #25 (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars added RB Duke Johnson to the practice squad.

In addition to talking about how he felt ahead of the Jaguars’ Week 1 matchup, Meyer talked about the team’s running back room. He said he wasn’t confident about having just three running backs, “eyes still open” and added that the Jags’ brass was “working on some things”.

Not long after the sitdown, the Jaguars announced that they signed running back Duke Johnson and waived Nathan Cottrell. That might have been the “things” Meyer alluded to. Johnson was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2015 draft. The Miami product has appeared in 91 games with 17 starts over his seven-year career.

His best year came in 2019 when he racked up 83 carries for 410 yards and two trips to the end zone. In the same season, he hauled in 44 receptions for 410 yards and three touchdowns. In fact, the case could be made he offers more value as a receiver out of the backfield, having caught 307 passes for 2,829 yards over the last six years.

Johnson is more of a rotational, third-down kind of back. Also, the Jaguars may only activate him if one of their top three running backs — James Robinson, Carlos Hyde, and Dare Ogunbowale — is forced to miss time with injuries. the former Hurricane isn’t the kind of running back that can carry a heavy workload. However, he’s an upgrade over Cottrell, who was mostly relegated to special-teams duties in 2020.