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2019 NFL Draft Profile: Jaquan Johnson

2019 NFL Draft Profile: Jaquan Johnson

Cory Grimes
Jaquan Johnson was a neighborhood hero as a 4-time First Team All Dade player in high school. That was just the start, as he went on to Miami to be the lynchpin of the Hurricane secondary and one of the unquestioned leaders on the entire team. No matter what the play was, it was likely that #4 was around the football by the time the play finished. He was the Hurricanes' leading tackler in the 2017 and 2018 seasons with 96 and 92 tackles, respectively. The Killian alum also forced 6 fumbles and reeled in 6 INT’s in his career at UM. When there was a big play to be made, it was often Jaquan Johnson who came through. Johnson was selected 2nd team All-ACC in his junior and senior seasons. Manny Diaz and the Hurricane defense have huge shoes to fill with Johnson’s departure, but one NFL team is going get a steal on day 3 of the draft.


Pre-Draft Measurables

Height
: 5’10”

Weight: 191 lbs

Arm: 29 5/8”

Hand: 8 ¾”

40 Yard Dash: 4.69

Broad Jump: 10’ 1”

Vertical: 33”

225 Lb. Bench: 18 reps


Strengths

True Leader

Jaquan Johnson is a high character player who other guys rally around. He isn’t a huge outgoing personality but has a great locker room presence. His storied halftime speech against FSU in 2018, which helped fuel a big second half comeback, is a great example. He is a high IQ player, hard worker and has great sense of urgency in everything he does. Overall, Johnson is a great addition to any locker room dynamic.

Sure Tackler

As I mentioned before, Johnson was the Hurricanes leading tackler for the past 2 seasons from his safety spot. He takes great angles to the football and does very well in 1-on-1, open-field tackle scenarios. Johnson is aggressive against the run and makes a ton of plays at or around the line of scrimmage. He’s rarely out of position in run support and shows good explosion on contact. He’s even shown the ability and willingness to run down on the punt team and make tackles in space. Despite a bit of an undersized stature, Johnson has shown that he’s more than capable of being a box player and getting his nose dirty in run support.

Knack for big plays

Johnson was involved in a lot of Turnover Chain activity in his years at Miami. He does a great job of forcing fumbles and has knack for putting his helmet on the ball and forcing it out. He’s also had a couple eye popping interceptions, including a pick 6 against Virginia in 2017. He has above-average ball skills, great hands and good instincts reading the QB in zone coverage.

Underneath Zone Coverage

Johnson was rarely ever out of position in zone coverage. He excelled in Miami’s void zone pressure defense when he was asked to be in underneath coverage and read the QB. He wasn’t quite as impressive in over the top coverage due to a lack of top end speed. However, he is very disciplined and hard to fool. He’s much better in zone when he can use his instincts rather than in man-to-man coverage.


Weaknesses

Undersized

He has a small frame for an in the box, strong safety type player. He really does have much more room to gain weight. He can have issues with taking on blocks in the box at times. This could steer some teams away, but he makes up for his stature with exceptional physicality.

Lack of top end speed

Johnson is not a burner, which limits his range at times. He has great short area quickness and reacts very quickly on the field, but when he is asked to cover a ton of ground over the top in zone coverage or run with faster slot receivers, he has some problems.

Man-to-man coverage

Johnson wasn’t asked to play a ton of man coverage in his time at Miami but certainly will have to in the NFL. This was not his strong suit in college. He hips aren’t quite as fluid as you’d like to see in man coverage, and he’s not an overly twitchy guy. He will also be asked to line up with much bigger tight ends in man coverage, which could be an issue.


Draft Projection- Round 4-5

In a league that covets big, long and extremely fast DB’s, Johnson size and lack of top end speed will force him to slide to Day 3 of the draft. With that being said, Johnson’s competitive toughness, leadership, and overall physicality will make him an asset in the league. I wouldn’t make too much of Johnson’s speed because he is extremely quick and was fast enough to be the first one to the football more times than not. He plays much faster than his 4.69 40 suggests. Johnson will certainly need to focus in on his man-to-man coverage skills to prolong his career in the NFL. He is a bit of niche player who will be used in nickel or dime packages as a player who can help in run support and make plays in zone coverage. No matter where he ends up, his work ethic, effort, and football knowledge will be a plus for any locker room in the NFL.
 

Comments (19)

Loved him as a college player. He has had a pretty disasterous off-season in regards to his generated athletic profile. He's really small and his athletic profile is 7th percentile.

Guys with that profile just don't play very long in the league most of the time.

I really like his film though...thought before athletic testing he could have been a nice 3rd round type, but now, who knows. Day 3 somewhere. Maybe he can shatter the glass ceiling. idk.

I think Redwine is a better prospect at this point.
 
Love him as a Cane, but wouldn’t be surprised if he goes late.
 
Hoping for the best. He should use this draft stuff as a motivation to come in with a chip on his shoulder. Will miss him at The U
 
Jaquan has about the widest gap between "high production player" & "low end athlete" of any player you can find.

I would think his athletic testing puts his ceiling at the 5th round, but hoping he goes higher.
 
Jaquan has about the widest gap between "high production player" & "low end athlete" of any player you can find.

I would think his athletic testing puts his ceiling at the 5th round, but hoping he goes higher.

This is one of the better summations of Jaquan I've seen.

I want to think he was running in a boot.
 
Would be ecstatic for Minnesota to take him and have Harrison Smith and jaquan on the same field
 
Would be ecstatic for Minnesota to take him and have Harrison Smith and jaquan on the same field

Minnesota plays a ton of Cover-3, don't they?
You want Jaquan Johnson in the middle of the field?
 
Minnesota plays a ton of Cover-3, don't they?
You want Jaquan Johnson in the middle of the field?
Eh, honestly man, I just want more canes on my team Haha. You do have a good point though.
 
Wasn't Ed Reed to slow? Jimmy Johnson said often there is fast and then there is FOOTBALL FAST.
 
3rd round should be where he goes but Jaquan Johnson is not only NFL starting caliber but has pro bowl potential as well.
Definitely better than some safeties already starting... Ricardo Allen is one name that comes to mind.

He has that thing, that big play when needed thing. He is not Ed Reed but has that same thing. Ed was ultimate version of big time player making big time plays in big time games onnD and ST, but JJ will make his share and the team that gets him will be happy.
 
Wasn't Ed Reed to slow? Jimmy Johnson said often there is fast and then there is FOOTBALL FAST.

Ed Reed was 5'11" 201 and 4.57 - wasn't really like Reed was small & slow, he just wasn't particularly big or fast

Jaquan is 5'10" 191 and 4.69 - so he's a loooooong way from Reed

Unfortunately is not that Jaquan just didn't test well, it's that he tested about as bad as any Safety at the combine in the last 20 years. It's that bad

No denying he's a beast on the field though
 
Ed Reed was 5'11" 201 and 4.57 - wasn't really like Reed was small & slow, he just wasn't particularly big or fast

Jaquan is 5'10" 191 and 4.69 - so he's a loooooong way from Reed

Unfortunately is not that Jaquan just didn't test well, it's that he tested about as bad as any Safety at the combine in the last 20 years. It's that bad

No denying he's a beast on the field though

I remember when a cornerback bust by the name of Chris Houston was drafted by the Falcons with the 41st overall pick in the 2nd. Ran a 4.32 forty, 36 inch vert, and 27 bench reps.... I know he was a bust when we drafted him out of Arkansas.

If a scout has the brains to trust their eyes and draft Jaquan Johnson where he deserves (late 1st early 2nd imo) that person would be setting themselves up for a payday and a long NFL career.
 
Kid plays fast. That mental alertness is Perryman-esque. Diagnoses plays as well as anyone I've seen. But Perryman had proportionately better (if not elite) speed given his size. I think Quan is nearly capped out, will struggle against faster WRs. So he'll probably go 4-6. Regardless, he's going to make a team who can pair him with a speedy safety extremely happy.
 
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