Has a strong arm, capable of making all of the throws. Has good athleticism and mobility to buy himself time outside the pocket as well as make plays with his legs when the pass breaks down. Can be tough to sack because of his combination of size and mobility. Shows good accuracy and touch on some of his throws, particularly down the field. Will show some anticipation on throws.
Really needs to work on his footwork and mechanics. Dips the ball low on his windup, down to around his hip and doesn't have a tight delivery. This probably also prevents the ball coming out with as much zip as someone with his arm strength should have. Will float some passes out in the flat. His footwork is sloppy at times, particularly on the few occasions he takes snaps from under center. Doesn't set his feet consistently when he throws, throwing off his back foot or fading away too often. Loses his arm strength and accuracy too often when throwing on the run. Accuracy and touch can get erratic at times. Too many times his receivers are waiting for the ball because he'll underthrow them and lack of ideal zip. Will force some passes and his footwork, mechanics, and decision making drop significantly when he's pressured. Doesn't slide and move in the pocket, keying on pass rush too much. Doesn't always secure the ball when he's running around, which could lead to more turnovers. Locks on way too much to his first read and stares down receiver.
If Johnson has gotten good NFL coaching from Mike Sherman, I'm not sure I've seen it yet. Maybe he puts it all together in 2010, and starts to show the decision making, anticipation, mechanics, and footwork that comes with that kind of coaching. Johnson however is an intriguing prospect that is similar type of prospect as Vince Young. Although he's not quite as capable of making plays with his legs as Young was at Texas or is in the pros. He's got developmental potential with his size and arm strength, but needs to really work on his mechanics more than anything. Plays in a spread attack, mostly out of the shotgun, and it's also a "Check with Me" scheme that means the coaches and not him read the defense pre-snap. Right now, Johnson is probably a player that will spend the greater portion of his early years in the NFL holding a clipboard. If he can get comfortable working in one offense, and is polished up quite a bit, he could be an effective NFL starter. But by "effective," I mean in the same way that Byron Leftwich or Alex Smith are effective.
WHAT I WANT TO SEE IN 2010:
Mainly I want to see Johnson polish up his mechanics and footwork. His accuracy, touch, and production I think can improve dramatically if he tightens up his delivery and improves his footwork. I want to see him doing a better job going through progressions and going to a second read, since that is something that guys that should be doing regularly in their third seasons as starters. But I don't expect him to suddenly become great at seeing the field because of the scheme he plays in really doesn't require it to be successful. But getting those mechanics/footwork under control will definitely quicken his ability to impact the NFL sooner, because at this point he's too reminiscent of Tim Tebow.
I wouldn't buy too much into the hype of Johnson at this point. I think at best, he's a third round pick in 2011, and that will likely be dependent on having a fairly weak QB class or having a lot of QB-needy teams. Right now, I don't see him as a better NFL prospect than Dennis Dixon, so he's probably more likely to be drafted in the fifth round. But you never know, some coach could fall in love with his Vince Young-like physical tools and take him in the second round.
The year's upcoming draft and the college game can be discussed here.
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