Jaylon Johnson | CB | Utah
Jaylon Johnson heads to the NFL after playing three years at Utah, the last two of which really put him on the map nationally. He entered this past season coming off a really strong campaign in 2018, and remained consistent throughout 2019 as well.
The first thing that jumps out at me when scouting Johnson is how well versed he is to play press-man coverage at the next level. Utah often asked him to survive on an island on the boundary, and Johnson handled himself more than adequately. He’s going to play a lot of press coverage on the outside at the next level, and he has more than enough experience to make a smooth transition to the pro’s. This makes him a very intriguing prospect in my eyes.
The combine confirmed much of which I saw on tape. Johnson is a long, physical and athletic prospect. He uses his 31 3/8” arms to put the clamps on receivers at the line of scrimmage. Johnson’s size and athletic ability allows him to play physical with receivers of all shapes and sizes. He does his best work when matched up with bigger, more physical receivers in my opinion, but he can also use his size to push around the smaller ones. If those shiftier guys beat him off he snap, he has adequate recovery ability to get back into the play.
Johnson does a great job using his length to impact the catch point. The ball production has been there. Johnson leaves Utah with seven career interceptions to his name (two of which he returned for touchdowns), as well as 21 career pass break-ups.
By all accounts, Johnson is a highly intelligent student, and a terrific teammate as well. He played through an injury for most of 2019, proving that he’s a tough kid. He has the pedigree, production, athletic measurements and traits to make a big impact at the next level.
The medicals will have to check out. Despite playing in 13 games this past season, it was revealed that Johnson played through a torn labrum in 2019. He recently underwent surgery to repair that said torn labrum. It begs to wonder how this unique draft process will impact a team’s ability to get a clean bill of health on him. I have some questions about his long speed. His 40-yard dash time of 4.50 at the combine mostly put that to bed, but his speed will never be described as elite, and that’s okay. I’m nitpicking here. I wish he was a little more willing to get his nose dirty in the run game. He’s too big and physical to be that passive in the run game.
Does he fit the Titans?
Absolutely. As things currently stand with the state of the Titans roster, I’m leaning towards cornerback being the likeliest direction the Titans go in at 29th overall. Of course, things can change if they bring Logan Ryan back. Even if they do, it’s likely on a short-term deal, and they’d be wise to start re-filling the cupboard at the cornerback position (Malcolm Butler isn’t getting any younger either). Grabbing Johnson in the first round may be a bit early, and perhaps he could be available in rounds two or three. The Titans like their defensive backs to be of the physical variety, and Johnson more than fits the bill.