When it comes to longevity in the NFL, it usually comes down to being a valuable starter or being able to fill as many roles as possible in order to secure a roster spot year in, and year out.
We all have probably heard that the more you can do, the better, and that is especially true when NFL teams are making up their 53 man roster. A player’s versatility to fill several different roles is a valuable asset to have, especially considering how precious each roster spot is and how difficult they are to keep.
Take for instance the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick in 2015, Byron Jones.
Jones has the versatility to play nearly every position in the Cowboys secondary and that is just what he did in his rookie season. He had a lot thrown at him as a rookie and played both cornerback (inside and out) and safety. That kind of versatility is invaluable and we all witnessed firsthand what happens when players go down with injury without anyone to step up and fill their shoes.
Jones will probably be penciled in as a safety in 2016, but can play cornerback in a pinch if there is an injury.
When it comes to the 2016 NFL Draft, there is one player in particular that could possibly be the most versatile prospect in the entire draft class and should make one NFL team extremely happy.
Devon Johnson out of the University of Marshall has the skill set to play several different positions, which would make him a viable member to any team, including the Cowboys.
The former University of Marshall star played several different positions with the team before finally settling in as the team’s starting running back and could possibly do the same thing at the NFL level.
While at Marshall, Johnson played linebacker, tight end, and running back.
In the NFL, Johnson is probably viewed more as a fullback/halfback because of his size (6-0/238), but I personally think he can be much more than that.
For the Cowboys, he could be a short yardage back, something fans have been hankering for ever since the departure of DeMarco Murray. He could be a backup tight end, their starting fullback, or even help out on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker. He can do all this and also be a valuable member on special teams.
That’s a lot of versatility for one player and could allow the Cowboys to go a little thin at certain positions because he can help provide an insurance policy at so many different positions.
I can see Johnson quickly becoming a fan favorite similar to the way Daryl “Moose” Johnston was during his career with the Cowboys.
Are we looking at Moose 2.0?
Head coach Jason Garrett still values the fullback position and that might be where Johnson finds himself playing as a rookie. That would allow the team to move on from Tyler Clutts, who is more of a traditional fullback and could’ve possibly played his last down with the Cowboys.
Unfortunately, Devon Johnson is currently expected to be drafted in the seventh round so the Cowboys would have to hope he goes undrafted to hope to secure his service for the future.
They could, however, decide that his versatility is too valuable to pass up and use one of their sixth round compensatory draft picks to make sure that he’s wearing a star on his helmet in 2016, something I wouldn’t be completely opposed to happening.
Ultimately, Devon Johnson will make some NFL team very happy that they drafted him and I don’t see why that can’t be the Dallas Cowboys.