NEXT No. 2: Chris Johnson
With Canton-type numbers, Johnson could save the star system in NFL backfields
This story appears in the Dec. 14 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Okay, here's my beef with NEXT: It's not that we can be wrong -- if 60 percent of our picks pan out, we're doing well -- but rather that we set the bar impossibly high. We expect our choices to not just thrive, but to enjoy long, transcendent careers. So I worry for 2009's NFL winner: Chris Johnson, the Titans' 24-year-old tailback.
It's true -- Chris Johnson might be the NFL MVP this season. But to get a full appreciation for how good he is and how could he could be -- in sum, why he's "NEXT" -- you must be an ESPN Insider.
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Together they weigh 975 pounds and stand nearly 31 feet tall. They've claimed dozens of awards and banked millions of dollars (well, except for the college freshman). They've teed up highlights and appeared more than 150 million times on Google. And, crazy as it sounds, they're just getting started. That's why ESPN The Magazine has named the following five athletes NEXT finalists.