Detroit Lions cutting Kerryon Johnson after three seasons
Jermar Jefferson may play a bigger role than expected in the background of the Detroit Lions.
The Lions told Kerryon Johnson that he would be lifted Thursday, a person familiar with the decision told the Free Press. The NFL network reporter Ian Rapoport first covered the move.
Johnson, 23, was the team’s second round draft pick in 2018. He struggled with injuries in his first two seasons but played in all 16 games in 2020, mostly a third down role.
D’Andre Swift returns as the Lions roll back, signing Team Jamaal Williams as number 2 this off-season.
Last week, the Lions picked Jefferson in the seventh round, who a newcomer in Oregon averaged 1,380 yards and 12 touchdowns and averaged a career high of 6.5 yards per carry as a junior last year.
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“He’s such an instinctive runner,” said Brad Holmes, general manager of the Lions, on Saturday. “He has the natural feeling of being a slippery inside-player. He runs hard, he just has a natural feeling of a lot of inside-zone things. But he can do all phases. Gap-power-things, inside-zone- Things. But he’s just a very sleek, slippery, instinctive runner that we’re really looking forward to. “
Jefferson played sparingly on special teams in the state of Oregon, but said he routinely attended special teams to carry out his duties in the NFL.
Johnson was known as a standout passport guard, but he saw production decline from 2018 to 2019 and again last year.
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Adrian Peterson, who signed with the Lions late in the preseason, led the Lions in Rush Gardens (604) and Attempts (156) last season before giving up playtime to Swift.
Swift finished his rookie season 878 yards from scrimmage and finished third on the team with 46 receptions.
Johnson was the Lions’ lead rusher at 641 yards in 2018 when a left knee injury limited him to just 10 games. In 2019, he ran 403 yards and saw his yards per attempt drop from 5.4 yards to 3.6 yards per carry. He suffered a right knee injury in 2018 that sent him to the injured reserve for eight games.