Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Dec 2009

ESPN: Chris Johnson is NEXT

Here's a statistical look at the greatness of Chris Johnson, as part of ESPN The Magazine's annual "NEXT" issue. Includes a fun little year-by-year projection for Johnson's career based on doing similarity scores, which ends up with Johnson setting an NFL record with 5.3 career yards per carry.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Dec 2009

2 comments, Last at 03 Dec 2009, 5:48pm by E


by huston720 :: Thu, 12/03/2009 - 2:32pm

This really seems like an overly optimistic projection, esecially since we get no idea of where the rest of the numbers were coming from for the future years. I suppose I can see that even with regression there is a good chance he will still be over 5 ypc next year. But here's my question, is the 39% figure for yards gained on the second level sustainable over the long hall, or will it regress thereby reducing Johnson's ypc.

To me it seems that as Johnson ages and starts to get some injuries he will lose some speed, and the ability to consistently break off big runs. Also it is strange to me where his career projection was stopped. I understand that backs deterioriate at 30, but that doesn't mean they immediately retire. The analysis basically decided that Johnson would lose effectiveness and immediately retire at 30 even though he was projected to have a still good 4+ ypc. Wouldn't it be more likely he would hand around for a couple of year then retire. Meaning more years at 4 ypc which would bring his career ypc down closer to 5 or below?

by E :: Thu, 12/03/2009 - 5:48pm

They do have him under 1000 yards for the season for his last 4 years, not to mention missing games in each of those years, including missing half the season in his final year. I think that qualifies as "hanging around until he retires".