STRENGTHS - A tough and aggressive cornerback, Johnson plays the game with the intensity and competitiveness that NFL teams love. While his 40 time is not good, he has quick feet and is able to plant, drive and close very fast on passes in front of him. His backpedal is quick and compact and when he maintains tight footwork he can transition out of pedal fast. He has the hips to turn and run with receiver without losing a step from press alignment and shows no hesitation maintaining contact and playing physical with receiver throughout route. He uses his strength and physical play to re-route receivers well. When he closes on pass he has outstanding ball skills and looks natural reaching in front of receiver to break up pass. Despite lacking ideal size, Johnson flies up the field on plays in front of him, avoids blockers well and is very willing to make hard hits/tackles.
WEAKNESSES - Obviously, Johnson lacks the ideal height and timed speed that NFL teams want. Even though he seems to enjoy playing physical with receivers, big receivers will be able to catch passes against him just due to their height advantage. Additionally, he is a quicker than fast cornerback who lacks the explosive burst and top end speed to catch up if he loses a step and can be beaten deep by speed receivers. At times he gets a little wide in pedal and when he does he tends to have a pause at the back of transition, which hinders his ability to close quickly on passes. When his back is to the quarterback in man coverage he does not show the ball awareness to consistently react and make a play on the ball.
SUMMARY - Johnson is the type of player you have to be careful not to fall in love with and over grade because he plays the game the way coaches want, but lacks the elite physical tools to maintain his level of production in the NFL. the rule of thumb for NFL teams is that a cornerback either has to have size or speed/athleticism and Johnson is lacking in both. He lacks the height NFL teams want and while he is a good athlete, he lacks the elite explosiveness, speed and athleticism to make up for it. Overall, I would not draft Johnson early, but in the fifth or sixth round he would be a great pick. I think he can be an outsanding backup/fourth cornerback and special teams player with the potential to develop into a quality nickel cornerback.