55. Utah CB Jaylon Johnson
6-foot, 193 pounds
Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.88 — starter potential
The lowdown: After cracking the starting lineup a few times as a freshman in 2017, Johnson became a full-time starter the following season — and developed into one of the better man-cover corners in college football the past two years. He was named a first-team All-Pac-12 pick in 2018, repeating that honor and being named second-team AP All-American in 2019. Johnson had only two interceptions this past season but hauled in four in 2018 and has flashed playmaking ability.
He’s a confident and tough man corner who plays with physicality. Johnson has spent most of his time as an outside corner, although he’s played both sides of the field and also manned the slot on occasion when needed. With good press skills and enough feel for off coverage, Johnson should have large appeal among NFL teams that can’t ever seem to have enough competent man-cover options.
Johnson will get a little twitchy and grabby downfield (see USC, Oregon games) and doesn’t have the high-end play speed (despite a 4.5 40) to recover well when beat. He also has let some potential interceptions clang off his hands and was tested quite a bit the past two seasons, which allowed him to make some plays but also to get beat with occasional missteps in coverage.
But Johnson’s tackling is excellent, he takes his craft seriously and has good — perhaps not great — potential as a starting cornerback.
By the numbers: According to PFF, Johnson was tied for 35th last season among draft-eligible corners last season in passes targeted against with 65. But only one corner with that many targets against allowed fewer than Johnson’s 0.76 yards allowed per coverage snap (Iowa’s Michael Ojemudia).
Interesting fact: Johnson was named first-team academic all-conference in 2018 and 2019, majoring in business and carrying a 3.62 GPA.
Draft range: Johnson has undergone surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, which he played through in 2019, but it shouldn’t have a dramatic impact on his draft status. A Round 2 landing spot is expected.