This past week I had the pleasure of interviewing NIU Wide Receiver Cole Tucker as a part of Huskies On Tap. During the interview I asked Cole who was the most talented DB he played against? I was blown away by his response as Cole said Jaylon Johnson, the Bears 50th overall selection in this year's draft. Cole then went on to say, "He was a long DB, I felt like he was far away, but his arms could still get to me." Cole closed his answer saying, "He has quick hips, good feet and he will be good at the next level." This made me want to dig deeper and see exactly what the Bears are getting in the 6'0" corner out of Utah.
The first thing you notice about Johnson when cutting the tape on is his size and how physical he is at the point of attack. Johnson can be seen in mainly press looks or in man coverage. He uses every inch of that 6-foot frame and has enough speed, as well as athleticism, to match up with most, if not all, wideouts in the league. Johnson is a flat out playmaker that has the full package of an NFL corner. With the release of Prince Amukamara, the second cornerback position is wide open with a handful of suitors and Johnson seems to be the best fit.
What the Bears lacked last year in perimeter speed with Amukamara, Johnson makes up for. All I keep thinking about as I'm writing this is Kenny Golladay streaking down the sideline as Prince struggles to remain on the screen. Johnson didn't record the fastest 40-time (4.51), but I have a hard time believing any receiver puts up that type of game on Johnson.
As you may have noticed I didn't upload some flashy highlight reel where it only shows you the great plays he made in college. We see the good, the bad, and everything in between on that tape. I will say that Johnson did have an issue with dropping interceptions, and as an aggressive corner that has its pros and cons. For Johnson, this included jumping routes early and forcing pass interference penalties. The lone touchdown of 20+ yards Johnson gave up came against USC on a play where he tripped and was in man-to-man coverage.
When Johnson does get his hands on the ball he is a threat to take it the distance, just ask Jacob Eason. I will say the one thing that doesn't get talked about enough is his tackling ability. He lays the boom like a safety and is a sure tackler in the open field. He is instinctual, athletic, and possesses the size and frame to be a number one corner in the NFL some day.
My perfect scenario for this season has Jaylon Johnson at CB2. He is the exact opposite of a guy like Kyle Fuller who prefers some distance off the ball and is more of a zone corner. Johnson and Fuller have the ability to be a lockdown duo for a unit that lacked a legitimate second corner last season. In addition, I love Buster Skrine in the slot, giving the Bears' secondary the talent, depth, and experience to be a top secondary unit this season.
Here is the episode of Huskies On Tap that was quoted at the beginning of the article!