David Johnson -running Back

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David Johnson
refer to caption
David Johnson in 2018
No. 31 – Houston Texans
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1991-12-16) December 16, 1991 (ageΒ 28)
Memphis, Tennessee
Height:6Β ft 1Β in (1.85Β m)
Weight:224Β lb (102Β kg)
Career information
High school:Clinton (IA)
College:Northern Iowa
NFL Draft:2015Β / Round:Β 3Β / Pick:Β 86
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2019
Rushing yards:3,128
Rushing touchdowns:33
Receiving yards:2,219
Receiving touchdowns:15
Return yards:598
Return touchdowns:1
Player stats at NFL.com

David Jerome Johnson Sr. (born December 16, 1991) is an American football running back for the Houston Texans of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He played college football at Northern Iowa.

Early years

Johnson attended Clinton High School in Clinton, Iowa, where he was a three-sport star in football, track, and basketball.[1] He played as a running back and defensive back for the River Kings high school football team. He set numerous school records including touchdowns in a season, career receptions, career receiving yards, career and single-season total offense and single game record for touchdowns. As a senior, Johnson led Clinton to an 11–1 record while accounting for a school-record 42 touchdowns and was selected 2009 Outstanding Offensive Player for Clinton. In four seasons, Johnson compiled 4,682 rushing yards (on 5.4 YPC) and 49 rushing touchdowns along with 1,734 receiving yards and another 14 receiving touchdowns. Johnson took up kick returning as a senior, averaging 36.5 yards per attempt and returning one for a touchdown. He was invited to play at the 2010 Shrine Bowl All-Star Game, where he showed excellent vision and speed.[2] Academically, Johnson maintained over a 3.0 GPA throughout high school.[3]

In track & field, Johnson was a two-time Drake and state qualifier. He earned second-place finishes in both the 4 Γ— 200 and 4 Γ— 400 relays at the 2009 Drake Relays, while also recording a personal-best time of 11.03 seconds in the 100-meter dash. At the 2009 Iowa State T&F Championships, he took ninth in the preliminary rounds of the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.34 seconds.[4] Also a starter on the basketball team, Johnson was named second-team All-conference as a junior. He helped lead the River Kings to the state tournament during his senior season, where he averaged a team-best 15.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He was a first-team All-league selection in the Mississippi Athletic Conference and a third-team All-State pick by the Iowa Newspaper Association. He was also a second-team All-state selection by The Des Moines Register.

Johnson committed to the University of Northern Iowa to play college football.[5] The only other school to offer Johnson an athletic scholarship was Illinois State.[6]

College career

Johnson attended Northern Iowa from 2010 to 2014.[7] After redshirting in 2010, he played in 13 games, with five starts, as a redshirt freshman in 2011. He had 179 rushes for 822 yards with nine rushing touchdowns and also had 33 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns. As a sophomore in 2012, Johnson started seven of 12 games. He finished the year with 1,021 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. As a junior, Johnson started 10 of 11 games and rushed for 1,286 yards on 222 carries.[8][9] As a senior, Johnson rushed for 1,553 yards on 287 carries with 17 rushing touchdowns [10] and returned 12 kickoffs for 438 yards (36.5 average) and one touchdown.[11] During his senior season, he set numerous school records, including career rushing yards, career rushing touchdowns, and career all-purpose yards.[12]

College statistics

David JohnsonRushingReceiving
2011Northern Iowa131798224.69334223
2012Northern Iowa111781,0215.713323835
2013Northern Iowa112221,2865.810383934
2014Northern Iowa142871,5535.417385362
College Totals508664,6825.4491411,73414

Professional career

Following a standout career at UNI, Johnson declared for the 2015 NFL Draft and was projected to be a second or third round pick after a promising showing during the NFL combine and UNI's Pro Day.

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6Β ft 0Β 5⁄8Β in
(1.84Β m)
224Β lb
(102Β kg)
31Β 1⁄4Β in
(0.79Β m)
9Β 5⁄8Β in
(0.24Β m)
4.50 s 1.55 s 2.58 s 4.27 s 6.82 s 41Β 1⁄2Β in
(1.05Β m)
10Β ft 7Β in
(3.23Β m)
25 reps
All values from NFL Combine[13]

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals selected Johnson in the third round (86th overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft. He was the seventh running back to be selected that year.[14] The Arizona Cardinals originally planned to draft Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah in the second round (55th overall) and were speaking to Abdullah on the phone when they discovered the Detroit Lions had selected him with their second round pick (54th overall). After failing to draft Abdullah, they changed their draft plans and opted to select David Johnson.[15] Johnson became the seventh running back drafted in 2015 and the only player drafted from Northern Iowa in that year.[16] He was the highest drafted player out of Northern Iowa since Jacksonville Jaguars selected offensive lineman Brad Meester with the 60th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.[17]


On May 18, 2015, Johnson was signed to a four-year, $2.9 million contract with a $639,373 signing bonus and $639,373 guaranteed.[18]

Johnson opened the season as the fourth string running back behind veterans Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson, and Stepfan Taylor.[19] On September 13, 2015, Johnson played in his first career game, against the New Orleans Saints, and finished the season opener with one reception for a 55-yard touchdown.[20] The following week, he received more playing time against the Chicago Bears after Ellington was injured the previous game. Johnson carried the ball five times for 42 yards and scored his first career rushing touchdown in a 48–23 victory over the Bears. In addition, he returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in the game.[21]

December 6, 2015, marked Johnson's first career start after Chris Johnson suffered a fractured tibia in the previous game.[22] In his first start, he had 22 attempts, 99 rushing yards, two receptions, 21 receiving yards, and a touchdown reception[23] in a 27–3 win over the St. Louis Rams.[24] Of those 99 rushing yards, they included rushes of 17 yards, 23 yards, and 10 yards.[25][26][27]

On December 20, 2015, Johnson had his third consecutive start and recorded a season-high 29 carries for 187 yards and three rushing touchdowns,[28][29][30] while also recording four receptions for 42 yards in a 40–17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on NBC Sunday Night Football.[31]

The Cardinals made the playoffs and earned a first-round bye.[32][33] In the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers, he finished with 35 rushing yards and 43 receiving yards in the 26–20 overtime victory.[34] On January 24, 2016, Johnson rushed for 60 yards on 15 carries and a rushing touchdown as well as 68 receiving yards on nine receptions against the Carolina Panthers in the 49–15 loss in the NFC Championship.[35] He finished the season having carried 125 times for 581 yards with eight touchdowns, and caught 36 passes for 457 yards and four touchdowns.[36]


Johnson experienced a breakout season in 2016. He posted 15 straight games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage, matching the Lions' Barry Sanders (1997) for the longest single-season streak in NFL history.[37] In the season opener against the New England Patriots, he had 89 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, and 43 receiving yards.[38] In the next game, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 45 rushing yards to go along with three receptions for 98 yards.[39] In the following game, against the Buffalo Bills, he had 83 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go along with three receptions for 28 yards.[40] He recorded 124 scrimmage yards (83 rushing and 41 receiving) in the next game against the Los Angeles Rams.[41] Four days later, he had a season-high 157 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in victory over the San Francisco 49ers.[42] In the next game, against the New York Jets, he had 111 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.[43] In the next game, a hard-fought 6–6 tie with the Seattle Seahawks, he had 33 carries for 113 yards to go along with eight receptions for 58 yards on NBC Sunday Night Football.[44] He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October after averaging 145.2 rushing and receiving yards through five games along with five touchdowns.[45] On November 13, against the San Francisco 49ers, he had 55 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 46 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.[46] On November 20, against the Minnesota Vikings, he had 103 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 57 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown.[47] In the next game, against the Atlanta Falcons, he had 58 rushing yards to go along with eight receptions for 103 yards and a receiving touchdown.[48] In Week 13 against the Washington Redskins, Johnson recorded nine receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown and ran for 91 yards on 18 carries for another touchdown, earning him NFC Offensive Player of the Week.[49][50] Johnson finished the season having carried 293 times for 1,239 rushing yards with 16 rushing touchdowns.[51] He was ranked seventh in the NFL for rushing yards, and ranked second in the NFL for rushing touchdowns. Johnson also finished the season having caught 80 passes for 879 yards and four touchdowns. He had the most receiving yards among running backs and ranked 38th among all NFL players in receiving yards.[52] He was named First-team All-Pro and was also named to his first Pro Bowl.[53][54] He was also ranked 12th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[55]

On January 1, 2017, Johnson left the field on a cart in the first quarter of the Cardinals final regular season game of 2016 against the Los Angeles Rams with an injured left knee after getting tackled awkwardly. The injury looked very serious but ended up only being an MCL sprain and would not require surgery.[56]


On September 10, 2017, in the season opener against the Detroit Lions, Johnson injured his left wrist during a play in the third quarter, and left the game. Before the injury, Johnson had recorded 11 rushes for 23 yards and six receptions for 67 yards.[57] The Cardinals lost the game by a score of 23–35.[58] The next day, it was revealed that Johnson's wrist was dislocated, which required surgery and 2–3 months to recover.[59][60] He was placed on injured reserve on September 12, 2017.[61][62] On November 22, the Cardinals announced that Johnson would not return for the rest of 2017.[63]


On September 8, 2018, Johnson signed a three-year, $39 million contract extension with the Cardinals with $30 million guaranteed.[64] In his first regular season action since his injury, he recorded a rushing touchdown and 67 scrimmage yards in the 24–6 loss to the Washington Redskins.[65] In a Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, he recorded 112 scrimmage yards (71 rushing, 41 receiving) and a rushing touchdown.[66] In a Week 5 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Johnson recorded his eighth career game with at least two rushing touchdowns.[67] In the next game against the Minnesota Vikings, Johnson scored a touchdown for the fifth time in four games.[68] In Week 11, against the Oakland Raiders, Johnson rushed for 137 yards and recorded one catch for 17 yards in a 23–21 loss.[69] He finished the season with 940 rushing yards and seven touchdowns along with 50 receptions for 446 yards and three touchdowns.[70]


In Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, Johnson rushed 18 times for 82 yards and caught six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown in the 27-27 tie. [71] Overall, in the 2019 season, Johnson recorded 345 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to go along with 36 receptions for 370 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.[72]

Houston Texans

On March 20, 2020, the Cardinals traded Johnson along with a second-round pick and fourth-round pick in 2021 to the Houston Texans in exchange for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick.[73][74]

Career statistics

SeasonTeamGamesRushingReceiving Fumbles
2015Arizona Cardinals 1651255814.647T83645712.755T441
2016Arizona Cardinals 16162931,2394.258T168087911.058453
2017Arizona Cardinals 1111232.16066711.224021
2018Arizona Cardinals 16162589403.6537504468.940332
2019Arizona Cardinals 139943453.71823637010.331411
Total 62477813,1284.058T332082,21910.75815158


  1. ↑ Doxsie, Don. "Arizona Cardinals star David Johnson returns home to Clinton as 'rock star'". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  2. ↑ Kaye, Mike. "NFL Draft: Interview with Northern Iowa RB David Johnson". SB Nation.
  3. ↑ "David Johnson – 2011 Football". Northern Iowa Athletics. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  4. ↑ "Iowa State T&F Championships – Class 4A Boys (Raw)".
  5. ↑ "Johnson is the one who didn't get away – The Gazette". The Gazette.
  6. ↑ "Is UNI's David Johnson one of College Football's Top 10 RBs?". herosports.com. September 10, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  7. ↑ "David Johnson NCAA FB Stats – Season & Career Statistics". www.foxsports.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  8. ↑ Miller, Bryce. "David Johnson's determination puts the hammer down on UNI foes". Des Moines Register.
  9. ↑ Doxsie, Don. "Johnson looking more and more like NFL prospect". QC Times.
  10. ↑ "Honors continue for Panthers' Johnson". QC Times.
  11. ↑ "University of Northern Iowa Athletics – 2014 Football Cumulative Statistics". unipanthers.com.
  12. ↑ Logue, Andrew. "David Johnson's monster night helps UNI advance". Des Moines Register.
  13. ↑ http://www.nfl.com/draft/2015/profiles/david-johnson?id=2552377
  14. ↑ "2015 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  15. ↑ Somers, Lent (September 8, 2017). "Cardinals' 2015 draft landed David Johnson, Markus Golden: From agony to ecstasy". AZ Central. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  16. ↑ "NFL Draft Profile:RB David Johnson". Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  17. ↑ Hamilton, Andy. "David Johnson UNI's highest NFL draft pick in 15 years". Des Moines Register. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  18. ↑ Sportrac.com. "Arizona Cardinals:David Johnson salary details". Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  19. ↑ Root, Jess. "Arizona Cardinal's depth chart". SB Nation. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  20. ↑ "New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals – September 13th, 2015". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  21. ↑ "Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears – September 20th, 2015". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  22. ↑ Associated Press (December 1, 2015). "Cardinals' Chris Johnson is out for season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  23. ↑ "Highlight: Palmer hits Johnson for a 10-yard TD". azcardinals.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  24. ↑ "Cardinals vs. Rams – Box Score – December 6, 2015 – ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  25. ↑ "Highlight: David Johnson rushes for 10-yard gain". azcardinals.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  26. ↑ "Highlight: David Johnson runs for a 23-yard gain". azcardinals.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  27. ↑ "Highlight: David Johnson rushes for a 17-yard gain". azcardinals.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  28. ↑ "Highlight: David Johnson scores third touchdown". azcardinals.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  29. ↑ "Highlight: Johnson goes 'Beast Mode'". azcardinals.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  30. ↑ "Highlight: Johnson finishes drive with 1-yard TD". azcardinals.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  31. ↑ "Cardinals vs. Eagles – Game Recap – December 20, 2015 – ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  32. ↑ "2015 NFL Standings & Team Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  33. ↑ "2015 Arizona Cardinals Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  34. ↑ "Divisional Round – Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals – January 16th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  35. ↑ "Cardinals vs. Panthers – Box Score – January 24, 2016 – ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  36. ↑ "David Johnson 2015 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  37. ↑ "Milestone achievers in 2016: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Larry Fitzgerald". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  38. ↑ "New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals – September 11th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  39. ↑ "Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals – September 18th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  40. ↑ "Arizona Cardinals at Buffalo Bills – September 25th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  41. ↑ "Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals – October 2nd, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  42. ↑ "Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers – October 6th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  43. ↑ "New York Jets at Arizona Cardinals – October 17th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  44. ↑ "Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals – October 23rd, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  45. ↑ Ortega, Mark (November 3, 2016). "Tom Brady, David Johnson are Players of the Month". NFL.com.
  46. ↑ "San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals – November 13th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  47. ↑ "Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings – November 20th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  48. ↑ "Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons – November 27th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  49. ↑ Lewis, Edward (December 7, 2016). "Andrew Luck headlines NFL Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  50. ↑ "Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals – December 4th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  51. ↑ "David Johnson 2016 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  52. ↑ "2016 NFL Receiving". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  53. ↑ "Three rookies, Matt Ryan among players named to All-Pro team". NFL.com. January 6, 2017.
  54. ↑ "David Johnson highlights trio of Cardinals to make Pro Bowl". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  55. ↑ "'Top 100 Players of 2017': No. 12 David Johnson". NFL.com.
  56. ↑ Urban, Darren (January 2, 2017). "No Surgery Needed For David Johnson". AZCardinals.com. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  57. ↑ "Arizona Cardinals at Detroit Lions – September 10th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
  58. ↑ "Cardinals vs Lions – Recap". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  59. ↑ Sessler, Marc. "David Johnson suffered dislocated wrist vs. Lions". NFL. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  60. ↑ Patra, Kevin. "David Johnson to undergo wrist surgery, out 2–3 months". NFL. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  61. ↑ Urban, Darren (September 12, 2017). "David Johnson To IR As Chris Johnson Returns". AZCardinals.com. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  62. ↑ Patra, Kevin. "Cardinals RB David Johnson has cast removed". NFL. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  63. ↑ Lewis, Edward. "Carson Palmer, David Johnson won't return this season". NFL.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  64. ↑ Shook, Nick (September 8, 2018). "Cardinals sign David Johnson to three-year extension". NFL.com. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  65. ↑ "Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals – September 9th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  66. ↑ "Cardinals' David Johnson: Grinds out 112 total yards". CBSSports.com. September 30, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  67. ↑ McManaman, Bob (October 7, 2018). "Instant replay: Arizona Cardinals top San Francisco 49ers for first win of 2018 season". AZ Central. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  68. ↑ "Cardinals' David Johnson: Scores, fumbles in loss to Vikings". CBSSports.com. October 14, 2018. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  69. ↑ Baum, Bob (November 19, 2018). "Carlson's last-second FG gives Raiders win in Arizona". AP NEWS. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  70. ↑ "David Johnson 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  71. ↑ "Murray, Cardinals settle for 27-27 tie vs. Lions". www.espn.com. Associated Press. September 8, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  72. ↑ "David Johnson 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  73. ↑ "Stunner: Texans trade DeAndre Hopkins to Cardinals". NFL. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  74. ↑ Urban, Darren (March 20, 2020). "DeAndre Hopkins Deal Another Big Trade For Cardinals, Steve Keim". AZCardinals.com. Retrieved March 21, 2020.


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