College: Wake Forest
Position: Defensive Corner
Johnson possesses exceptional quickness in his movements, generated from rare coordination in his footwork. He has a typewriter backpedal that showcase light and quiet feet. Every movement he seems to make is precise and calculated. This is a testament to not only his coordination but also his balance. He further demonstrates balance and flexibility in his sharp redirect from his pedal moving forward in off man, turning in tight man, and in lateral recovery situations. He has a bit of a wind up when he lets it rip downfield and at times will struggle to stay in-phase with fast receivers, resulting in him getting grabby at times. Most often however his superb foot speed/precision keep him mirrored up with receivers vertically.
Section Grade: 7.4
Pride / Quit
Despite his slender and wiry build there is no questioning Kevin’s toughness on the field. He will readily take on blocks from a variety of players and will fly up in run support with reckless abandon. He is aggressive and physical with receivers, sometimes to a fault. He had been an extremely productive player in his career in terms of the disruption he causes and the numbers that reflect it. He has led the team in PBUs the last three seasons and has 41 total starts. He exudes pride in how hard he plays consistently from snap to whistle. I didn’t record one loaf in the 6 tapes and regularly saw him enthusiastically congratulate/celebrate with teammates. Comes off as highly invested on film.
Section Grade: 7
Learn / Retain
Instinct / Reaction
KJ is an extraordinarily clean prospect in terms of the limited mistakes and wasted movements he makes on the field. He consistently shows rapid click/close and read/react ability from off man, zone, and tight man coverage. His focus is evident not only in how advanced he is in his precise movements & reaction speed but also when the ball is in the air downfield. He showed the ability to quickly locate, track, and high point balls. His body positioning is also fantastic. Total package in his mental alertness.
Section Grade: 8.2
Strength / Explosion
Johnson has a wiry, slender overall build. Despite having a long frame he doesn’t appear to be overly high cut. This shows well he is able to get low and explode in short-areas. Not only is he explosive laterally he is also able to explode vertically and really sky for the ball. He hasn’t missed a game in his 4-year career due to an injury. Johnson is a sinewy player with a bristly type of strength for his size. He can get walled off fairly easily at times but it rarely happens due to his effort & toughness. He also is a reliable wrap up tackler with the ability to provide big-time pop in the MOF (see ’14 FSU tape).
Section Grade: 6.8
8.5 Read & React
Rare ability to see through the WR to the QB, diagnose routes/route combos quickly, and react rapidly
8.5 Man On / Man Off
Has tremendous instincts in man coverage, particularly in off. Has exceptional footwork in his backpedal and is very calculated
8 Man Tight
Precise, fast foot fire. Exceptional anticipation ability and coordination to hip pocket receivers. Understands how to advantageously position his body when the ball is in the air
7.5 Zone Coverage
Shows ability to quickly diagnose route combinations (’14 Clemson has good example) and close on the ball with speed/aggression
8 Break & Close
Rarely off balance in his backpedal and it results in easy burst out of it. Closes on the ball with pride and speed
7 Hips / Turn ability
Flexible hips and outstanding footwork in his turn. Stays on balls of feet from snap to whistle
Reliable wrap up tackler who has strong arms/hands to hold on through contact. Violent hitter
6.5 Hands – INT
Didn’t drop an easy INT in tapes I saw, caught the catchable balls. Accumulates a lot of touches/PBUS using his aforementioned skill
5.5 Hands – Fight blocks
Feisty when engaged and strong enough to free himself at times but can get walled off easily
6.5 Long Speed
Has good, not great long speed but makes up for it to stay in-phase using other means. Bit of a windup when he lets it go for a long stretch. (’14 FSU tape versus Rashad Greene down sideline highlighted this for me)
6 Return Ability
Returned 4 kicks in his career for 15 yards
Rarely makes the same mistake twice. Will get grabby at times on vertical routes but by and large an extremely smart and aware DB
Section Grade: 7.2
8 ATH. ABILITY
8.5 M / M OFF
8 M / M TIGHT
7 PLAY SPEED
Section Grade: 7.9
Overall Grade: C 7.4
- 4.52 40 yard dash
- 41.5 vertical
- 6.79 3 cone
- 3.89 20 yard shuttle
- 12.19 60 yard shuttle
- 10-10 broad jump
Long & wiry, plays with tons of fight and has necessary strength/power to play a physical game. Decisive, fast footwork along with exceptional instincts and anticipation. Sees through the WR to the QB & has burst out of pedal to get hands on a lot of balls. Typewriter backpedal with smooth transitions in turns & closing. Routinely mirrors receivers from tight man coverage downfield, uses the sideline and alters routes nicely. Has an advanced application of body positioning with the ball in the air as well as the hops and ball skills to make plays “above the rim.” Snap to whistle player with smarts and toughness.
Lacks elite long speed to open up and run stride for stride with burners. Will watch QBs for too long at times and bite on double moves. Has a tendency to get a bit grabby if out of position. Feet can get a bit mechanical & choppy in tight man coverage.
Johnson came to Wake Forest from River Hill High School in Maryland as a two-way starter his junior and senior seasons. He was a multiple state champion in high school and was offered by Wisconsin & West Virginia. Johnson played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2010, starting five games. As a sophomore he was ruled academically ineligible and was awarded a redshirt. From 2012 (his RS soph yr) until 2014 as a RS senior he didn’t miss a game and accumulated 36 straight starts, totaling 41 for his career. Was named honorable mention All-ACC in 2014, 2013, and 2012. He finished his career with 190 total tackles, 124 solo, 8 TFL, 1 sack, 3 FF, 2 fumbles recovered, 7 INTs, and 35 PBUs. Johnson is a slender-framed and wiry built player who isn’t very high cut and has a lot of twitch in his movements. He primarily plays 6-9 yards off the ball in an off man coverage look as well as in various zone concepts. He has extensive experience lined up in man tight as well, all of which occur on both sides of the field.
KJ is an exceptionally instinctual player in terms of reading/reacting to the ball and the receiver. From an off coverage look he consistently sees through the WR to the QB, anticipates breaks in routes, and locates/tracks the ball with precision. He has very quiet and light feet in his pedal with plenty of burst out of it to jump routes and make plays on the ball. He shows intelligence in route recognition and on route combinations, often staying with the correct man and reacting quickly. He has very little wasted movement in most anything he does to include reacting laterally on underneath routes and flipping his hips to mirror downfield. He is in-phase with receivers from man tight coverage the vast majority of the time but will get grabby if he isn’t able to alter the route physically or with the sideline. His deep speed is adequate but at times he will appear to wind up if he has to really run and it can get him into compromising situations. This doesn’t happen often as his body positioning is excellent to put himself in advantageous situations on vertical routes, particularly on the intermediate level. With the ball in the air Johnson is very aware and keys on the receiver. He has a quick head turn & ability to locate/track/high point the ball with relative ease. He is a high flyer and aggressive go-getter of the football. Against the run Johnson is very aggressive and has the ability to knife through or around blocks for TFLs. He also demonstrated the ability to deliver plenty of pop in the MOF and against the run. If he gets isolated and engaged on a block he will at times get washed out of the play or walled off so the off coverage scheme is helpful for him to create some space.
Johnson is equally skilled in both off and tight man coverage as well as zone, a rarity for college players. His extensive starting experience shows in the film through his ability to anticipate, identify, and diagnose plays very quickly. His scheme versatility and polish are outstanding and he has plenty of athletic ability to provide an instant impact as a pro. If he can maintain his weight there isn’t anything holding him back from becoming a top tier CB in the NFL and future all-pro.
Player Comp – Joe Haden
Value – Top 10
Projection – Top 25