Johnson came to Ohio State after participating in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and earning Class 4A All-State accolades as a quarterback at Boca Ciega High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. His physical attributes and previous work at safety, however, caused coaches to move him to that position right away.
He played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman, making 10 tackles as a reserve safety and special teamer. Johnson participated in every game in his sophomore and junior years, starting the final 11 in 2010 (50 tackles, three passes defensed) but then playing as a backup in all but four contests in 2011 (32 tackles, three interceptions). During the 2012 season, Johnson started eight of 12 games, intercepting two passes.
NFL-sized safety with a strong upper body and nice length to wrap up ballcarriers in space. Breaks down to avoid getting eluded by most backs and receivers around the line. Often used against slot receivers, uses his physical nature to negate them within the five-yard area. Can knock away passes with his long arms inside to prevent completions, also has good enough ball skills to extend away from his frame to grab jump balls. Effective watching the quarterback in zone coverage, can break on throws and make the play. Length and strength also helps him hold off receiver blocks in the run game at times, and hes willing to add himself into the action in the box. Can be an intimidating presence on plays in front of him, bringing his shoulder with bad intentions. Has enough athleticism and solid tackling ability to contribute on special teams coverage units.
Size and somewhat stiff hips might limit his man-cover ability at the next level despite his success in the slot in college. Backpedal is lacking, stays high when moving backwards, takes time to transition and thus giving up receptions. Will need to prove his turn-and-run ability downfield, as well. Gets grabby when facing quicker receivers, will draw flags unless he improves his recovery speed and trusts his length to knock away passes. Does not always bring aggressiveness or use his length effectively against better receiver blocks outside, can be controlled so ballcarriers get around him.
A high school All-American from Florida, Johnsons career hasnt quite been as great as he expected. He started 11 games as a sophomore, but couldnt keep that job in 2011 (four starts) even though he had three interceptions for the season. His size, length and ball skills, however, might be enticing enough to earn a late-round selection as a special teams contributor with potential for more.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.