The 2023 Senior Bowl will provide an opportunity for NFL draft prospects to prove themselves on the largest pre-draft stage. Texas running back Roschon Johnson plans on taking full advantage. Johnson recently spoke exclusively with the Senior Bowl and Draft Network to discuss his motivation for accepting his invitation to compete in Mobile, Alabama.
Johnson also talked about what he’s striving to prove to NFL general managers and scouts in attendance at the Senior Bowl, his scheme fits, and more. Let’s get to know Roschon Johnson a little better.
JM: Where were you when you found out about your Senior Bowl invite and what was your initial reaction like?
Roschon Johnson: I believe I was getting treatment at our facility. I was told to visit the office of our director of player personnel. She [Kyrah] called me into her office and said she had something for me. She even opened the door for me. As soon as I saw the box sitting in her office, I knew what it was (laughs).
I felt an emotion of joy. I was worried I was in trouble at first (laughs). I was like why am I going to her office? What did I do? (laughs). To see that box sitting on her desk, it was an overwhelming moment of joy for me. I’m very thankful that this opportunity has been granted to me.
JM: That’s an awesome story. What was your motivation for accepting the Senior Bowl’s offer?
Roschon Johnson: The Senior Bowl is an event I’ve been watching closely for several years now. I’m a fan. I’ve always watched it on television, but being a participant myself was beyond even my wildest dreams. It’s crazy that I’m here. So many amazing players have come through the Senior Bowl.
It’s giving me an opportunity to showcase my skill set in front of a lot of important people. That’s not lost on me. I plan on seizing the opportunity and running away with it.
JM: That’s terrific stuff. What are you looking to prove to NFL general managers, coaching staffs, and scouts in attendance in Mobile?
Roschon Johnson: First and foremost, I want them to get a feel for what type of person I am. I’m the type of person they’d be happy to welcome into their organization. That goes for both an on-field and off-field standpoint.
I’m excited to get on the whiteboard and showcase my football IQ. I want to dive into the X’s and O’s and show my character. I want to prove that I’m an all-around prospect, both mentally and physically. I want NFL coaches and general managers to see it firsthand.
Secondly, I’m going to show what type of dog I am on the field. I didn’t necessarily start throughout the majority of my career at Texas, but I’m fully capable of filling that type of role at the next level. I feel like I can showcase my talents at the Senior Bowl. I can run the ball, catch the ball, and play in pass protection. I can play in every zone scheme.
I’m just excited to showcase who I am both on and off the field.
JM: We love that detailed answer. You initially enrolled at Texas as a quarterback before making a position change to running back. What was that transition like?
Roschon Johnson: To be honest with you, it wasn’t that difficult mentally. As a quarterback, you kind of understand the roles of all 22 players on the field. Going to a narrower perspective at running back, it wasn’t that mentally challenging for me. I already understood the role of a running back on a snap-by-snap basis. It was a matter of physically preparing my body to make that change. I needed to mold my body to that of a running back. I had to be prepared for contact on every single play. I needed better contact balance and to deal with contact better.
That happened for me through reps at the position. It just needed time. The majority of the transition was easy, to be honest with you. I knew I would get better and better as time went on. I’m still getting better today. I don’t feel like I’ve reached my ceiling yet.
JM: That makes a lot of sense. You leave Texas with 56 career receptions under your belt. How important is it for a running back to be an asset in the passing game in today’s NFL?
Roschon Johnson: It’s so vital, especially in today’s game. You need to catch the ball at the next level. It makes for a great outlet for the quarterback to have at his disposal. A running back that can protect and run routes out of the backfield adds another layer to the offense.
I can create mismatches against linebackers and defensive backs. It’s so important, especially when taking into account how the game is being played today. It’s a necessity.
JM: Is there a scheme that best suits your skill set at the next level? Do you see yourself playing in a zone-based or gap-based system?
Roschon Johnson: I like both zone and gap schemes. If I had to choose one, I’d probably lean toward a gap scheme. I can’t really say which one suits me better though. I just like the way gap schemes operate. Honestly, I can play in either/or. I wouldn’t necessarily say one suits me better than the other.
JM: What can you accomplish at the Senior Bowl that you can’t at other pre-draft events?
Roschon Johnson: I’m excited to showcase who I am on the board. I want to discuss playbooks, schemes, and different plays. I have a lot of confidence in my football IQ. I won’t necessarily get that opportunity at some of the other pre-draft events. With my background as a quarterback, I feel like I can diagnose things a bit better than most can. I understand how offenses operate. I think I can showcase that at the Senior Bowl.
I’m really excited to showcase what I can do from a pass-blocking standpoint as well.
JM: Is there an NFL running back you’d love to sit down with and pick their brain?
Roschon Johnson: That’s a great question. I would probably say James Conner. I’ve spoken with James Conner briefly. He immediately comes to mind. Ezekiel Elliott is another good one. Somebody like Austin Ekeler also comes to mind. He’s a very interesting player to watch. Those three players come to mind.
JM: Austin Ekeler is a good one since you’ve caught so many passes. At the end of the week, what does a successful Senior Bowl week look like for Roschon Johnson?
Roschon Johnson: For one, that includes me having a good time. I know I’m going to enjoy my time in Mobile. I’m excited to be in contact with everybody in attendance. That list includes coaches, players, and general managers. I’m excited to start making those connections.
I’m going to strive to meet my goals. A successful Senior Bowl week includes me putting forth great performances on the field. I’m going to showcase what I’m capable of. I’m going to have a successful week on the board as well.
I’m going to let people know who I am. It’s going to be a successful week for me.
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