By Charlie Campbell
Summary: In January of 2019 at the all-star games, some NFL evaluators remarked to me about the physicality and toughness of the Utah defense during the 2018 season. Johnson was the star of the coverage side of that stop unit as he produced a lot of big plays for the Utes. With four interceptions, four passes broken up and 41 tackles, Johnson was one of the best corners in the Pac-12. After being a star recruit, Johnson eared playing time as a freshman, recording 25 tackles with an interceptions and six passes broken up.
To finish his collegiate career, Johnson had a strong season for the Utes with 36 tackles with 11 passes broken up and two interceptions in 2019. He put together an impressive game against Washington with a key pick-six to lead the Utah comeback.
Johnson is a gritty defender for the next level. With his physical demeanor, Johnson is an aggressive corner who really battles receivers. He challenges wideouts with size and wins on 50-50 passes by wanting it more. His aggressive style of play can also be seen in Johnson being very dangerous in zone coverage as he is quick to drive on the ball. He has good vision to read plays and breaks hard downhill to break up passes or jump a route to snatch the pass way. Johnson has impressive ball skills and is very ball aware.
Johnson could be limited to being a zone corner in the NFL becaise he is extremely stiff. He is not a corner who can flip his hips and run. Due to the tight hips and ankles, Johnson should not be in a scheme that has him playing lots of off-man coverage. The hip tightness is a concern for press-man technique as well. Johnson has a thin build with a skinny lower body, so getting pushed around by NFL receivers could be a problem. Hence, playing mostly zone coverage could be his best fit.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, Johnson looks like a potential second-day pick.
Player Comparison: Trumaine Johnson. Some team sources said Jaylon Johnson reminds them of Trumaine Johnson. Trumaine Johnson (6-2, 210) was a second-day pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Montana. If Jaylon Johnson can add some weight, he could be a corner comparable to Trumaine Johnson.
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