Port Neches-Groves grad Roschon Johnson looks back on NFL draft experience, rookie season

Published 12:16 am Thursday, April 25, 2024

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It was only a year ago that Port Arthur native and Port Neches-Groves High School graduate Roschon Johnson heard his name called from the stage of the NFL draft.

The Chicago Bears selected the running back out of Texas in the fourth round (115th pick).

Johnson said he remembers feeling the nerves of the days and some of the disappointment that helped fuel him through his rookie year and into his sophomore campaign.

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“It was a definitely a blessing,” he said. “But it was also hectic for me. It was nerve-racking to see where I was going to go and see who had believed in me. It was a lot of ups and downs. I thought I could go Day 2 but ended up going Day 3.”

Many draft experts had Johnson slotted as a potential late second or third-round pick prior to the draft.

“I wouldn’t say it was anger going on the third day, but it definitely made me feel like I had something to prove,” he said.

Johnson said he didn’t have a particular welcome-to-the-NFL moment, but said he noticed how much more difficult it was to make plays at the highest level of the football.

“You realize at the level, everything is just harder,” he said. “It is harder to gain four yards. It is harder to break a run. Everything is harder to do. There are no easy spots you can expose. In college, there are usually some weak spots you can exploit.”

The running back realized after his first game, he could play in the NFL. Johnson and the Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. As a rotational back, he recorded five carries for 20 yards.

“Just being able to get some touches and doing some positive things in the game, it instilled a little confidence in me,” Johnson said. “There were some moments I would break a little run or make a good block. That was the start of it.”

Johnson also mentioned his game against Tampa Bay, where he recorded his longest run of the season for 29 yards. He finished the year with 81 carries for 352 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.

He also recorded 34 catches for 209 yards.

Johnson’s best game of the season came against eventual Super Bowl champion, the Kansas City Chiefs, where he recorded eight carries for a season-high 38 yards.

The Bears have the first and ninth pick in the first round of this year’s draft. Johnson said he will attend the team’s draft party for the first round and keep an eye on who the team picks up in the later rounds.

The running back said his advice to fellow mid-round picks is to enjoy the time and try not to worry too much.

“For one, just pray on it,” he said. “Just know that God doesn’t make mistakes, and you are going to end up right where you need to be. Two, just enjoy it. That is a position that less than one percent of people get to be in. Soak it all in. Enjoy the downtime you get leading up to getting picked. Once you get drafted, it is pretty much wheels up from there, going from rookie camp to the mini camp and the whole season. It is nonstop.”