Josh Johnson Scouting Report

March 20th, 2013

Johnson lacks size and speed but is still a decent prospect

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Josh Johnson, CB, Purdue
Height: 5’9 3/8”
Weight: 199
Grade: 6.78 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

+/-on the smaller side for corners at just 5’9” and change, but solid at 199 pounds
-lack great speed; 4.65 40 was slowest amongst CBs at Combine. Plays more like his 4.5 pro day time, which is still just average
+good leaper with good timing and coordination
-maxed-out frame with tight skin
+very good lateral agility and decent hip fluidity
+consistently showed quick feet

+/-has had some injury issues (thumbs, ankles) but started 36 consecutive games
+elected team captain; coaches rave about his leadership and maturity
+very competitive and scrappy
+consistently demonstrates a good positional IQ and overall football IQ
+relished serving as a mentor to younger talents
+served as part-time return man and on special teams units

Zone Coverage:
+very quick to react to the ball
-shows tendency to get too deep too quickly and really leave the underneath exposed
+doesn’t abandon contain area even with QB flowing to other side, stays on his responsibility
-often complacent in allowing the completion and satisfied to clean up on the tackle, not as aggressive to the ball as he is in man coverage
-shows less energy and activity pre-snap than in man

Man Coverage:

+has experience in both press man and off man
+gets a good jam for a smaller CB, strong hands and quick arms to the chest of the receiver
+shows innate feel for the sideline and how to use it to help him
+/-inconsistent with his fluidity in changing direction; at times is very quick, others he takes extra steps and is slow to recover
-overestimates his chances to intercept balls that cause him to overshoot the play
-did a lot of grabbing and pushing down the field that could draw penalties in the NFL
-needs safety help over the top, lacks long speed to stay with faster receivers
+good at showing blitz from slot, times snap well and makes good decisions on whether to blitz or not

Run Support:
+not afraid to mix it up
-struggles to shed blocks because of size and lack of upper body strength
+generally sets a hard edge and keeps feet flowing to steer the play
-can get pushed around by stronger wideouts and backs
+disciplined form tackler who tries hard to square his shoulders and drive through the target
+positionally responsible, doesn’t take bad angles that abandon containment

Overview: It seems like Josh Johnson has been at Purdue for about 6 years, a testament to how long he’s been an impact player for the Boilermakers. Since taking over as a starter in his freshman year, Johnson has been a fixture at corner. Though he lacks height and speed, Johnson is still a very effective all-around corner. The biggest thing that stands out is his football IQ. Johnson is very positionally smart and understands the game very well. He is aggressive in man coverage and plays bigger than his size, often handling much bigger receivers and even tight ends.

Alas, that size is a problem. He is on the shorter side at 5’9”, though he does leap well. He lacks strength as well even though he is well-defined physically. Johnson looked much better in man coverage than zone and will appeal to teams that favor more aggressive corners who can jam. His lack of speed limits his upside and range, and he needs some technique work to use his hips and shoulders instead of his hands to keep position. Johnson offers immediate special teams ability, which helps. At his best at Purdue (Notre Dame, Indiana in ’11) Johnson looked like a future NFL starter and playmaker, but more often he looked like an outside nickel guy. The lack of downfield speed and length is going to limit his draft stock to the 4th round at best, more likely the 5th or 6th round. I like him a little more than that and would consider him in the 90-110 overall range. He reminds me some of former Vikings 3rd rounder Asher Allen.—Jeff Risdon

Scouting Notes:

Purdue vs. Notre Dame
-lines up in press man on Tyler Eifert, who rides his jam and makes an athletic catch while drawing a pass interference penalty (declined)
-responds on next snap; sits shallow in off-man and clicks and closes nicely on the ball to break up a short out
-quickly diagnoses a screen and tries to get over the blocking to make a play but misses an arm tackle while being pushed from behind
-stands up a block to set the edge and pops off nicely to hit the QB as he heads to the sideline
-gets called for PI in end zone while trying to wrestle Eifert for a jump ball
-locates ball nicely on underthrown deep pass, loses the INT when the safety hits him
-gets pancaked along sideline in run support
-very effectively jams Eifert at line and disrupts timing for a red zone throwaway
-slips two tackles up the gut on a punt return
-excellent open field tackle on read option, forces and recovers the fumble

Shrine Game Week (seen in person)
Monday East notes:
Purdue CB Josh Johnson is a gamer, as in he is much better in actual game situations than drills. He is smallish and not nearly as fast as some cohorts here and that showed in position drills. But in 11s he made a nice tackle by avoiding a block and locked up UNC WR Erik Highsmith on a red zone fade route.

Tuesday East notes:
Josh Johnson, Purdue–He didn’t do much for me on Monday, but Tuesday was a better day. Johnson showed a good low backpedal and the ability to turn his hips quickly and get to top speed. He was good in zone coverage, quickly recognizing his responsibility. He closed quickly from playing inside technique to a sideline route and forced the receiver out of bounds as the ball arrived.

Wed. East notes:
Purdue CB Josh Johnson dropped an easy INT in a drill, and he was visibly slower making his break than (Miami CB Brandon) McGee when doing the same drill side by side. Johnson did fare better in actual competition, though he did not show good awareness on a deep ball thrown to Marcus Davis. On that same play Clemson safety Rashard Hall got torched over the top and was slow to turn and chase

Purdue at Ohio State
-stays low in stance as boundary zone, keeps eyes on Braxton Miller as he moves
-gets caught too far inside in zone, easy 1st down completion to his outside responsibility
-flies off edge from press man alignment to get in the mix for recovery of fumbled handoff
-pushed well down field on stretch run by blocker when playing LCB
-Smith beats him easily over the top on post, Johnson reaches out to hold but is too far away
-comes on blitz, sees the quick throw and jumps up to break up the pass
-gets tossed inside by WR and loses the edge as Miller cuts outside for read-option TD run
-muffed a punt return attempt but quickly fell on the ball
-muffed the next punt return but also fell on that one
-beaten over the top by Smith with no inside safety help, pass underthrown
-picks off hail mary at the goal line
-closes quickly and under control to hit & wrap Miller on read option

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