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2017 NFL Draft Round 3 #91: Rams select John Johnson, S, Boston College

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  • 2017 NFL Draft Round 3 #91: Rams select John Johnson, S, Boston College


    4.61 SEC
    14 REPS
    37.0 INCH
    Top Performer
    119.0 INCH
    6.72 SEC
    Top Performer
    4.18 SEC

    9 7/8"

    Johnson's career with the Eagles ended on a high note, beating his home-state team, Maryland, in the Quick Lane Bowl. He had 12 tackles (11 solo) in the contest, capping off an excellent senior season (77 tackles, 2.5 for loss, three interceptions, nine pass breakups). In 2015, Johnson got on scouts' radars as a first-year starter (63 tackles, 1.5 for loss, three INT, three PBU). He may have done so as a sophomore, but missed the last five regular season games of the year with an arm injury before coming back for the bowl game (25 tackles on the year, two PBU). The second-team all-state pick from Maryland contributed in all 12 games as a freshman, picking up four tackles and a fumble recovery.

    STRENGTHS Has starting experience as cornerback and safety. Can play high safety or cover the slot. Plays with smooth hips and above average mirror and match footwork for the safety spot. At ease with directional changes in space. Adequate instincts in coverage. Will shade his coverage from high safety based on play development and quarterback's glances. Winning ball skills with very good ball tracking and soft hands. Interceptions don't just come his way, he goes and gets them. Has agility to take zig-zag downhill track to running backs. Bounces into run fits with lively feet and a tackle-ready base. Special teams monster with 30 tackles over the last three seasons on cover teams.

    WEAKNESSES Tends to take passive routes to the ball when he's the last line of defense. Leverages to the sideline while drifting backwards rather than closing downhill. Features a small delay at top of his transition when triggering. Needs to improve physicality as a tackler. Feet deaden near point of impact. Needs to drive through his target and finish with his feet.


    SOURCES TELL US "He's really caught my eye out here. Had to go look him up with one of our scouts to find out more about the kid. Way more athletic than a lot of the safeties you see out at this game." -- NFC secondary coach

    NFL COMPARISON Aaron Williams

    BOTTOM LINE Ascending defender with the experience, athleticism and ball skills to play as a high safety or in man coverage. Johnson is well above average as a ball-tracker and has the soft hands to finish at the catch-point against receivers. He has decent size but won't be a banger as a tackler, however, his ability in coverage has NFL personnel men buzzing as a potential early starter in the league.

  • #2

    A two-year starter at Boston College, Johnson lined up all over the secondary in his career, spending his senior season primarily as a single-high free safety and slot cornerback. Although he never won All-ACC honors, he showed steady progress each season. After spending his true freshman season as a back-up cornerback, he worked his way into the starting mix as a sophomore with 25 tackles and two passes defended, making two starts before an arm injury sidelined him for the second half of the season. Johnson moved to strong safety as a junior in 2015 where he started the first nine games, moving back to left cornerback for the final three games. He finished the 2015 season with 63 tackles, six passes defended and three interceptions. Johnson moved to free safety as a senior in 2016 and led Boston College with 12 passes defended and three interceptions, adding 77 tackles.

    Johnson is a talented, long-striding athlete with excellent range and body control to cover ground. However, he needs to clean up some issues in run support and his lack of route anticipation stands out on film, allowing receivers to gain a step and give the quarterback a clear throwing lane. Although he is too reactive in coverage, Johnson has a high football aptitude and limits the mistakes with his versatile athleticism, showing the skills to be a starter down the road or nickel defender.


    STRENGTHS: Tall, long athlete. Velvet feet and hip fluidity to smoothly redirect. Long-strider to accelerate quickly and cover a lot of green. Controls his gears well on the move to throttle down and stay controlled in space. Strings out plays, holding outside leverage and closing gaps on the perimeter. Run-and-hit style run defender, showing fast angles working downhill. Determined chaser and looks to tune up his target. Uses his arm length to take away passing lanes from various body positions. Competes with an edge at the catch point, aggressively trying to knock the ball down. Soft hands to finish interceptions. Team-oriented player and voted a senior captain. Versatile starting experience with 27 career starts, including multiple starts at each spot in the secondary (13 FS, 9 SS, 3 LCB, 2 RCB).

    WEAKNESSES: Lean-muscled body type with questionable core strength and limited bulk potential. Inconsistent route anticipation and can be caught guessing. Tick late out of his breaks in man coverage, hesitating and allowing excess spacing on underneath patterns (slants, curls, digs, etc.). Over-thinks concepts and falls for eye candy. Arrives too hot and creates poor angles. Needs to improve his tackling skills in space. Bad habit of throwing his shoulder downhill instead of coming to balance, squaring up and driving backwards. Late to recognize blockers and can be bullied near the line of scrimmage, struggling to detach himself once engaged. Undeveloped blitzing skills.

    --Dane Brugler (2/5/17)


    • #3
      Myles Simmons‏
      @MylesASimmons 40s40 seconds ago
      Rams select safety John Johnson at No. 91 overall. He has played at both safety and corner. Described as a player with strong cover skills.


      • #4
        The Rams got their DB. It's John Johnson, a safety out of Boston College, taken with the 91st overall pick to complete Day 2. Both of the Rams' safeties (Maurice Alexander and Lamarcus Joyner, transitioning from slot corner) are unrestricted free agents next offseason. So is their main backup (Cody Davis). Johnson is deemed to have good athleticism and ball skills. 6 feet, 208 pounds.

        Alden Gonzalez, ESPN Staff Writer


        • #5
          Will he play free safety for us?


          • #6
            Originally posted by MrOrange View Post
            Will he play free safety for us?
            My guess is that he's on the field at free safety in the nickel when Joyner is down in the slot.