Texas A&M Senior
40: 4.70 (estimated)
Has good size and decent athleticism to make plays with his legs. Can throw on the run. Has the size you like to see to finish runs and will show some shiftiness to juke defenders in the open field. Flashes touch on the fade throws. Knows when to throw it away. Has good arm strength and will showcase good zip on his throws to the sideline. Does a nice job on the outs and comebacks, particularly when throwing to his right. Is able to make reads at the line, rather than running the check with me offense.
His mechanics and footwork are bad. Has a Tebow-like throwing motion, where he dips the ball to his waist and it elongates his release. Ball doesn't come out with good velocity on his short throws and they will flutter. Struggles on his 3-step drops when working under center and not natural there. Will throw off his back foot. All those things lead to very erratic accuracy. Which gets even worse when pressured and he's forced to make decisions under fire. Tends to press in those situations and his decision making dips. Doesn't do a good job when he's forced to step and slide to avoid rush. Doesn't secure the ball when he's moving around the pocket, leading to fumbles. Gets happy feet when you force him to go to his second read. Lacks anticipation and holds onto the ball too long, being late on too many throws. Stares down his receivers and waits for them to get open. Offense has a tendency to stall in the redzone.
Johnson emerged on the national scene after a strong performance late in 2009 vs. Texas, and many were touting him going into this past year as a potential early round pick. But truthfully, his performances that year left a lot to be desired. He showed some improvement with his decision making this year and the fact that he was able to make his reads at the line rather than looking towards the sideline, but he was benched after the first quarter in the 7th game of the year after an erratic performance for several weeks. After his benching, Texas A&M went on a tear. He took the benching well however. He had a 3-3 record in the 6 full games he started, completing 56.6% of his 279 attempts for 1947 yard, 14 TDs, and 9 INTs. Also rushed for 146 yards and 2 more scores. As a junior, he had his best year with a 6-7 record, completing 59.6% of his 497 passes for 3579 yards, 30 TDs, and 8 INTs. Also rushed for 506 yards and 8 scores. Started out his sophomore year playing WR with 2 catches for 41 yards, but was moved to QB when Stephen McGee went down with injury. Started 10 games, going 3-7, plus another win when he replaced McGee early in a game, finishing with 59.5% completions of 326 attempts for 2435 yards, 21 TDs, 10 INTs, 114 rushing yards, and 3 more scores. Johnson is just probably too much of a project due to his poor footwork and mechanics, and the fact that his decision making gets bad when he's pressured and is prone to turn the ball over. He probably might be better suited to making a position change.
I wasn't high at all on Johnson going into this past year, and he didn't seem like a guy that had received a ton of NFL coaching by the end of his junior year. But that wasn't the case as a senior, as I do think he was doing a better job with his decision making, like knowing when to give up on a play, and I like the fact that the A&M offense was no longer a check with me when he was under center. But those are really just small consolations to the larger picture in that he just is a very raw project at QB. I think he does score well in the intangibles department because of those previously mentioned improvements, plus the fact that he took his bench very well. So I don't doubt him as far as work ethic and character go. I would compare him to Tim Tebow, the difference is that he didn't have Tebow's success and I'm not sure he's the leader that Tebow is. I don't think he's a lost cause as a QB, and I do think if he could get some years in the CFL or AFL, three or four years down the road he might be able to make it as an Anthony Wright-like backup. Basically being a guy that probably should be a No. 3, but is good enough to be a decent No. 2 if/when injuries hit. But for him to stick in the pros, I think he's going to have to move to a new position. I don't think he's fast enough to play wide receiver, so I think his best possible move is to become a tight end. Because I think he has good character, I think he would be open to that position change. He would be a project there, but with his size and athleticism I think he could be a nice matchup there and if he commits to the position I think he could make it as a reserve. He's probably not going to be anything more than a backup and H-back, but could be a decent journeyman with a few years under his belt.
Johnson would be a decent developmental project at tight end. A year with some tutelage from Tony Gonzalez certainly couldn't hurt him. He is a guy that if he can impress enough with his athleticism in camp, could make the Falcons practice squad and be worth developing long-term on the bench. If he shows enough progress by his second or third summer at the position, he could be an OK backup. Probably the best you can hope for is a backup that can give you 10-15 catches a year as a situational guy and emergency fill-in, but he might offer some value in the passing game because of his size and athleticism.
Johnson should be undrafted. A team might bring him to camp as a fourth arm, but I think teams would be smart to bring him to camp as a tight end. Otherwise, you're just better off letting the CFL develop him for a couple of years, and revisiting him four or five years down the line as a quarterback.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Arm Strength: 3.5
Decision Making: 2.0
Pocket Awareness: 2.0
Scouting reports of the quarterbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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