Former Boise State running back Ian Johnson got his chance to show NFL scouts, coaches and general managers first-hand that he can be a productive professional player this weekend in Indianapolis.
The former Bronco star didn’t disappoint at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“He’s been on a mission for the past eight months to go to the combine and have a great performance, and that’s exactly what he did,” said Bruce Tollner, Johnson’s Southern California-based agent.
Johnson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds, the second-fastest time among the 32 running backs at the combine. Virginia’s Cedric Peerman ran the fastest time in 4.45 seconds. Entering the scouting event – which also includes physical exams, team interviews and a psychological test during a four-day period – there was some question about Johnson’s speed.
Johnson also did 26 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press, the fifth-highest total among running back prospects.
Among running backs, Johnson had the fourth-fastest time in the 20-yard shuttle (4.18 seconds), tied for the fourth-fastest time in the 60-yard shuttle (11.63 seconds) and tied for the eighth-fastest time in the three-cone drill (6.93 seconds) – all drills designed to measure quickness and agility.
The workouts are closed to the media and NFL.com posts only the top performances from each position group.
The NFL Network televises the event and had good things to say about Johnson as he ran his 40. Anchor Rich Eisen kept talking about Johnson’s post-Fiesta Bowl proposal to girlfriend Chrissy Popadics and the network showed video from the proposal.
“One of the ultimate try-hard guys. He never complained about losing carries his junior and senior year,” NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said as Johnson ran his 40-yard dash.
Tollner said Johnson met with all 32 teams in the league, either at the combine or the East-West Shrine Game last month. Johnson is expected to be a second-day selection in April’s seven-round NFL Draft. The first and second rounds are held on the first day.
“Wherever people had him, it moved him up a notch,” Tollner said of Johnson’s combine performance. “He definitely helped himself.”
Johnson is expected to participate in the Broncos’ annual pro day in March, giving him another chance to show NFL personnel what he can do.
“People will come because he did well and got some attention with that excellent 40 time,” Tollner said.
Former Boise State wide receiver Jeremy Childs ran an unofficial time of 4.57 seconds in the 40, according to the NFL Network. The network’s unofficial times were consistently faster than the official times. Johnson, for example, was timed at 4.38 by the network.
Like Johnson, Childs needed a good time in the 40 to answer questions about his straight-line speed despite his productivity at Boise State.
Ten of the 45 wide receivers ran a 4.44 or faster, including a 4.30 by former Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Childs had the second-fastest time in the 60-yard shuttle (11.29 seconds) among wide receivers, but did not record one of the top times among receivers in any other drill.
Former Idaho tight end Eddie Williams did 23 reps in the bench press, tied for sixth among tight ends.