Has good size to match up at the next level. Flashes potential as a press corner. Has nice footwork and does a nice job sitting on his backpedal. Has nice hips and is a smooth runner. Does a nice job turning and running with receivers on the deep throws. Shows ability to drive on the slant over the middle to break up the pass. Comfortable working in zone, able to read the quarterback and can play in space. Has nice ball skills, able to play the ball well in the air. WIlling to stick his nose in there to try and separate receiver from the ball. Has closing burst as a run defender, and will break down and trip up the ballcarrier on the edge. Flashes burst off the edge to help out as a blitzer or making stops against the run on the backside pursuit.
Not as physical a tackler as you want in a player of his size. Tends to lower the shoulder and not a consistent wrap tackler. Struggles to get off blocks, and doesn't do a good job setting the edge. Doesn't always get the jam when he attempts to in press coverage. Tends to give up too much cushion to the underneath stuff, struggling to flip his hips on the comebacks and quick throws. Will take poor angles to the ball after the catch.
Johnson has the physical tools you're looking for in a corner with good size, decent speed, but the athleticism to match up. He's not a great run defender, but adequate and has room to grow if he becomes a more disciplined wrap tackler. He can offer value as a press corner as well as work in off and zone. He has enough ability to think he can get extended looks at safety in the pros. Had some off-field run ins while at Montana. The biggest being arrested this past October for disorderly conduct. He was at a party with a teammate, when police officers arrived due to noise complaint. When his teammate got into an altercation with an officer, Johnson intervened and both players were subdued with stun guns. As a sophomore, he was suspended for the season opener because he was involved in a fight outside a frat house.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(12/9) vs. Northern Iowa: 0.5 TFLs, 1 stuff, 1 pressure, 1 key blocked, 2 missed tackles; 4 targets, 2 rec., 19 yds, 9.5 avg, 7 YAC, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 1 PD
(12/16) at Sam Houston St: 1 stuff, 2 missed tackles; 3 tgt., 1 rec, 20 yds, 1 YAC, 1 TDs
2011: 14 GP/12 GS, 54 tackles, 6.0 TFLs, 1.0 sacks, 2 INTs, 12 PD, 1 FF, 0 FR
2010: 11/9-44-3.5-0.5-4-7-0-0; 8 KOR-22.2 avg, 0 TDs
- missed 1 game in 2009 due to a concussion and 2 games due to broken arm; suspended for another
- missed 5 games in 2008 with a partially torn PCL in his right knee
Johnson has potential to be at least a solid role player at the next level. I'm not sure how much upside he has a starter, although I think he could be developed into a solid No. 2 corner at the next level. Comparable players I think are Ron Bartell or Leigh Bodden, although that's probably the upper end of Johnson's potential. While I think he can play safety, I don't think he'll be great there. It could help alleviate some the issues he might face as a pure man corner. But he's not quite the polished run defender you want at safety, and needs to get better there. But Johnson probably is the type of tweener type that starts out as a corner, but if he doesn't really contribute there in his first two or so years in the league, teams will move him to safety, and he'll likely find a home. The key for him will be playing special teams early, and showing some potential to help out in nickel situations. I think as a No. 3 corner, most teams would be happy with him, and he has the potential to them grow into a solid No. 2 guy that can at least match up with quality No. 1s and not get destroyed, particularly the bigger guys. But I don't see him as being a top NFL corner on the outside. And if he moves to safety, while he can be a solid starter, he too then won't likely be a guy that is going to be a true impact guy. His corner experience should aid him in coverage and in schemes that will want to leave him on islands against wideouts and tight ends, he could be more effective. But even if he doesn't develop as a consistent starter, he should add quality depth. More than likely, at some point in the next three or so years, he'll get a starting opportunity. The question just is whether or not he'll be able to take advantage of it.
Johnson would definitely give the Falcons another body at corner, that is the bigger press corner that tends to be favored in Mike Nolan's 3-4 defenses. Thus he has potential to be developed as a starter down the road. It's unlikely that he's going to add much to the nickel corner competition right away, but he'd be a nice insurance policy that could pay off a few years down the road if/when guys like Grimes and/or Robinson are old and declining. If not, then the Falcons can potentially move him to safety three or so years down the road, where he could potentially be an upgrade over DeCoud in coverage, but probably not as good in run support. But he might make a better complement to William Moore because of that coverage potential.
Johnson adds quality depth with good starting potential at either corner or safety. But because he's more of a complementary starter than an impact guy, you're looking at a guy that should come off the board in the third round.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Man Coverage: 6.0
Zone Coverage: 6.5
Ball Skills: 6.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.