He is not a speed guy and can struggle in transition, but he is a strong player and is patient playing both man and in zone. He is reliable to keep his side of the field covered and with his experience, has late third round value.
He plays the ball well, coming towards it or working away and running deep, and is a very physical tackler who makes his presence felt from the outside. He is good when running downfield to flip his head and torque his body to make plays on the ball.
The Florida native apologized for his actions after the game, and hasn't looked back since. He start five games (two interceptions, four pass break-ups, two forced fumbles) and earn Freshman All-American honors for his kick return ability (ranked ninth in the FBS with 26.4 yards per attempt). Johnson started every game in both his sophomore and junior seasons, making 128 stops, intercepting three passes and deflecting 14 others in 2009-2010. He earned second-team All-Big 12 accolades from league coaches as a junior.
Johnson could remind some scouts of Ellis Hobbs, a former Cyclone who has succeeded in the NFL as a third-round pick of the Patriots in 2005: a shorter corner with toughness and fair ball skills, as well as potential as a kick returner at the next level. Though his lack of height may prevent him from being a top 50 pick, a strong 2011 season could mean he doesn't last much longer.
Man Coverage: Backpedal is low and quick, allowing him to adjust to any routes when bailing off the line. Possesses speed to recover from picks or good route sells. Locks up larger receivers off the line in press, has speed to stay with them down the sideline. Tends to be overly physical at times, drawing penalty flags. Owns good vertical and plays tough in jump ball situations, but veteran NFL receivers will be more likely to take advantage of height and strength discrepancies.
Zone Coverage: Heady zone defender. Sticks with crossing receivers if needed, while also reading deep routes to prevent throws over the top. Plays boundary and field sides equally well.
Ball Skills: Better at knocking the ball away than making the tough interception. Fair hands to make the play when closing on throws in front of him. Usually finds the ball when looking back in man, but it is often enough able to make the quick catch.
Run Support: Tough enough to handle run support responsibilities on the outside. Plays with leverage and sheds against most receiver blocks, though NFL receivers will use their size more effectively against him.
Tackling: Thick, compact corner with strength to bring down larger receivers by wrapping or cutting out their legs. Generally dependable zone tackler who gives up few yards after the catch to his receiver. Comes across the field, takes deep angles to help teammates prevent big plays. Tries to make the big hit and shoulder ballcarriers to the ground at times, however, and will miss cut tackles on occasion.
Intangibles: Plays with strong attitude and a short memory. Vocal leader on the field, directs traffic. Has grown since ejection against UNLV his freshman year. No known character concerns."
Showcases natural mirror ability off the line of scrimmage and does a nice job shooting the proper hand in press coverage, re-routing the receiver and turning to run. Possesses solid straight-line speed down the field, but is fluid out of his transition and gets back up to speed quickly because of good balance.
Reads the wide out well vertically, looks and leans, and can routinely snap his head around and locate the football. Possesses good body control when asked to adjust and get his hands on the football consistently, however, he displays only average ball skills when looking to come down with the pick.
Looks comfortable in off/zone concepts as well, gets a bit fidgety at times with his footwork and will jump backwards at times, causing him to waste some motion, especially when looking to drive on throws under him.
Looks natural sitting into his drop however, angling properly on the receiver's route and can fluidly open up his hips and get up to speed in space. Needs to do a better job feeling his cushion however, and will give up too much separation at times under him and forfeit some easy completions.
He does keep his feet under him and should be able to improve his click-and-close ability. Lacks an elite second gear, but plays fast because of fluidity and balance. He doesn't flash much in the run game, but fails to consistently take proper angles toward the football, doesn't break down as routinely as you would like and will slip off tackles.
Needs to do a better job playing with better leverage on the outside when setting the edge. He can be sealed and doesn't defeat blocks overly well.
Impression: A well-built kid lacking ideal height, but plays fast and I like his footwork and balance. Isn't a dynamic athlete, but can play some press and off coverage, and looks capable of getting playing time both on the outside and in the slot at the next level."
Shows good plant-and-drive quickness but is just an average playmaker lacking elite top-end speed and recovery burst.
Experienced as a jammer and has a special-teams mentality (willing tackler), though he could take time adjusting to a complex NFL playbook.
Has a relatively balanced skill set but might be best with simple assignments in a cover-2 scheme."
Runs well and decent ball skills with 5 career interceptions and 13 other pass break-ups, but is not all that instinctive in coverage and gives up too many big plays."