Height: 6’2″ Weight: 200 lbs.
Arm Length: 31 1/2″
Hand Length: 8 5/8″
Vertical: 38.5 inch.
Broad Jump: 10 1/4 ft.
Official 40 yard Dash: 4.45 sec.
Projected Pick: 3-5 round
Every year, I test myself to dig deep in the crates of college football film and pull out a draft prospect that will go unnoticed during the offseason and will most likely be selected late in the draft, but has the highest ceiling to succeed in the NFL. And just in the nick of time before the 2014 NFL Draft, the results are in and the winner is….. DONTAE JOHNSON FROM NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY! And ladies and gents, he probably isn’t a household name by now, but he will be in 2-3 years.
Dontae Johnson was a star two sport athlete at Pennington Prep in New Jersey. He played safety for coach Jerry Eure at Pennington Prep and was considered the sixth-best prospect in the state. By the end of his high school tenure, he was a first-team New Jersey all-prep performer. Johnson committed to North Carolina State University in 2010.
During his time at North Carolina State University, he had to take a backseat to more well-known names in the wolfpack secondary, such as David Amerson and Earl Wolff, whom are now starters for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. But he should not be dismissed, because he was solid player for the N.C. State program for four years.
|*2010||North Carolina State||ACC||SR||DB||13||12||10||22||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|*2011||North Carolina State||ACC||SR||DB||13||16||11||27||3.0||3.0||0||0||0||4||0||0||0||0|
|*2012||North Carolina State||ACC||SR||DB||52||18||70||6.0||1.0||0||0||0||8||0||0||0||1|
|2013||North Carolina State||ACC||SR||CB||50||31||81||0.0||0.0||3||21||7.0||0||2||0|
|Career||North Carolina State||130||70||200||9.0||4.0||3||21||7.0||0||15||0||0||0||1|
While everybody is looking for the next Richard Sherman in this year’s cornerback draft class, let us all just accept the facts for what they are, THERE ISN’T ANOTHER RICHARD SHERMAN! Now that I got that out of the way, I found another tall and physical corner football fans should fall in love with. Plain and simple, Dontae Johnson has all of the tools to succeed at the next level, without all of the fancy statistics to back it up. He has a large enough frame to defend tight ends, and is fast enough to run with wide receivers. He has good balance and athleticism. He uses his height well in coverage and can compete on any jump ball that is in his vicinity. He has the fundamentals to be solid in any coverage scheme. He is a feisty player that can be aggressive in coverage. He can play off and press man coverage, but mostly played off at NC State. He has good hips and breaks well on the ball. One of my favorite attributes to his game, is that he is an absolute bully on the perimeter. He sets a hard edge when taking on a block from a receiver, and it is very rare that anything gets around him. He is really good at shedding blocks and attacking the ball-carrier. He throws his weight around well and tackles aggressively. Finally, you have to love the kid’s versatility on the football field. He has played safety, cornerback, nickel and special teams. He is experienced in every aspect of the secondary. Johnson could eventually compete at all four positions at the next level. Johnson has excellent size and speed to play either cornerback or safety position.
As with all tall cornerbacks, his major flaw lies in his hip movement. He caught a few breaks in the game versus Wake Forest, but his stiff hips could have left him vulnerable on a few plays in that game. Which can sometimes cause him to hesitate to diagnose from depth and take some inaccurate angles. His change of direction is pretty good for a man his size, but it is not elite. He has to anticipate routes better and play the break in the route before it happens. It is the tightness in his transition to break on the ball or to break on routes that allowed him to get beat badly when he went up against Sammy Watkins this past season. The matchup against Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins exposed his acceleration and lateral quickness. Although Watkins is a rare athlete, Johnson clearly did not have the ability to mirror him and stay with him at all times.