The Bears added to their offense on Day 3 of the NFL Draft, selecting Texas running back Roschon Johnson with the 115th overall pick.
The 6-2, 225-pounder played in 47 career games through four seasons with the Longhorns, making five starts. Johnson ranks 18th on Texas' all-time rushing list with 2,190 yards on 392 carries. The Port Arthur, Texas native tallied 23 career rushing touchdowns during his time with the Longhorns.
Johnson played with star running back Bijan Robinson, who was selected No. 8 overall by the Falcons Thursday night, for three years at Texas. While Robinson served as the Longhorns' starter during that time, Johnson didn't let that alter his habits.
"I never really viewed myself as a backup," Johnson told Chicago media in a Zoom call Saturday. "Regardless of who was getting the carries, I tried to prepare myself as if I was the starter. I didn't really let the perspective of me being a backup have an effect on me. Just kinda take it day to day and try to increase my role on the team, whether that was on special teams behind Bijan or at running back. I just kinda flipped my perspective, and I think it paid off."
As a senior, Johnson recorded 554 rushing yards on 93 carries and scored four rushing TDs. He also caught 14 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown.
In 2022, Johnson was an honorable mention All-Big 12 by the conference's coaches. He originally enrolled at Texas as a quarterback in January 2019 then made the position change during fall camp prior to the 2019 season.
Johnson felt the move from QB to RB was more of a physical challenge than a mental one, having to adjust to aspects of the game like running with pad level, using your body as a weapon, making fluid cuts or not tensing up before contact.
"I think mentally it wasn't really that big of a challenge because quarterback you're having to know pretty much all 11 guys and their responsibilities," Johnson said. "I think it simplified a lot of things. It made it a lot easier for me to just go out there and be able to play with my mind but train my body for certain things. So I think it was more so a physical curve than a mental curve."
With the 115th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bears select Texas running back Roschon Johnson.
While a steady contributor on offense for the Longhorns all four years, Johnson also excelled on special team. In 2022, he returned a pair of kickoffs for 39 yards and led Texas with seven special teams tackles – four on kickoffs and a team-best three on the punt unit.
"I think special teams is really just something you can contribute with, and it's a very, very important aspect of the game that a lot of people don't really take into account," Johnson said. "I think it's just kind of fun to be on kickoff, being able to run past somebody or run somebody over, just go make a tackle. With me playing offense, it's something I really don't get to do, so I think it's kind of cool you can do both regardless of what you play."
Johnson was an All-American quarterback for Port Neches-Groves High School, finishing as the program's all-time leading passer with 7,710 yards and all-time leading rusher with 4,900 yards. He combined for 85 touchdowns and was an all-state and three-time all-district player.