Philadelphia Eagles: Kerryon Johnson has a golden opportunity in SF

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

For a time, it looked like Kerryon Johnson was going to be the Philadelphia Eagles‘ number two running back.

A former second-round pick out of Auburn who spent three years in Detroit before landing in South Philly via the waiver wire on May 7th, Johnson joined a running backs corps severely lacking in power, with only Jordan Howard fighting for a spot as the team’s short-yardage back.

At almost three years younger than Howard with similar prowess in pass protection and the added bonus of having familiarity with Lions OC-turned-special assistant Jim Bob Cooter, Johnson looked to have the inside track for a spot on the 53 man roster… at least until he got hurt.

After sitting out the waning days of training camp with a knee injury, Johnson was waived on August 17th with an injury designation and reverted to the Eagles’ injured reserve list after clearing waivers. While Johnson could have accepted his fate – and checks – for the remainder of the season on IR, he was ultimately waived again nine days later and thus was allowed to sign with any of the other 31 NFL teams once fully healthy.

On September 14th, that finally happened.

Kerryon Johnson has been elevated by the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 2 foe.

The San Francisco 49ers haven’t had much luck at the running back position this season.

After losing their top rusher, Raheem Mostert, to an IR-worthy knee injury four snaps into Week 1, the Niners opted to sign Kerryon Johnson to their practice squad and claim ex-Baltimore Ravens rusher Trenton Cannon to fill out their rotation.

Okay, not ideal, but an issue that every NFL team faces – just ask the Philadelphia Eagles and Brandon Graham.

Then, six days later, they did it again, claiming Jacques Patrick off the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad on the 21st and then signing former Washington rusher Chris Thompson to their practice squad the following day.

Why? Well, because the team’s opening day third-string rusher, Baylor UDFA JaMycal Hasty, was placed on IR following an abbreviated afternoon versus the Birds in a winning effort at the Linc.

For those keeping track at home, that left only two of the Niners’ initial four running backs, 2021 sixth-round pick Elijah Mitchell and 2021 third-round pick Trey Sermon on the active roster, neither of whom are locks to play in Week 3 after suffering a right shoulder and concussion respectfully in Week 2.

So just like that, Johnson went from unemployed to the most tenured member of the 49ers’ active backfield in a matter of two weeks, with a very real chance to see the field in a legitimate role for the 49ers versus the Green Bay Packers in the team’s home opener at Levi’s Stadium.

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Will it work? Will Kerryon Johnson be able to parlay an injury-fueled opportunity into his new long-term gig on one of the best teams in the NFC? Only time will tell, but after watching his 2021 season potentially end before it even began for the Philadelphia Eagles, it’s pretty cool to see the former Auburn Eagle take the field once more, especially since the two teams already faced off in Week 2.