NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

Kevin Johnson

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: CB Kevin Johnson

Player Information:

Kevin Johnson
6-0, 188 pounds
Hometown: Clarksville, MD


NFL Combine:

40 yard: 4.52

Bench: N/A

Vert: 41.5″

Broad: 130″

3 cone: 6.79

20-yard Shuttle: 3.89

News and Notes:

Selected second-team All-ACC in 2014, starting all 12 games and allowing just 24 completions all season long.  Selected honorable mention All-ACC in 2012, finishing second in ACC with 18 passes defensed.  Made 5 starts as a freshman in 2010.

 What they’re saying about him:

  •  Lean, athletic build and is a legitimate NFL athlete with natural cover skills. Very light on his feet, showing great quickness and fluidity to turn and run with receivers when in man coverage, as well as excellent downhill burst back to the ball for zone. He keeps his head on a swivel and doesn’t panic when the ball is in the air, showing good timing on his leaps and the hand-eye coordination to pick off the pass. Johnson is aggressive and will bait quarterbacks, showing a terrific burst back to the ball. He isn’t an intimidating hitter but gets the job done, generally wrapping the legs of ballcarriers securely. Has played inside in nickel as well as outside. Johnson’s toughness belies his light frame. He started 41 game at Wake Forest, never missing a game due to injury during his collegiate career.  In coverage, Johnson does show occasional over-aggression, getting burned on double-moves by speedy receivers. Good height and competes in jump-ball situations, but he may struggle in this regard against the behemoths playing receiver in today’s NFL.  Where his lack of size shows up most is in run support. Needs to show more awareness and aggression in fighting through blocks, as well as the toughness to deliver forceful hits on the ball-carrier.
  •  Smooth hips with excellent balance. Very natural in man coverage. Has feet and discipline to play square and mirror against complex routes. Disruptive in press coverage — alters routes and slows receivers. Can easily transition laterally and has quick-twitch to break on throws in front of him. Flips hips and accelerates against vertical routes. Crowds wideouts on perimeter and constricts target area for deep boundary throws. Plays stronger than his listed weight. Has athleticism and enough speed to recover when beaten. Decisive player. Fights to disengage and support against the run. Willing to drop shoulder and lay lumber as zone defender. Usually followed opponent’s best receiver around the field.  Gets fooled by head fakes downfield and turned around too often. Late to turn and find ball at times. Missed too many tackles as senior. Thin frame a concern as NFL run supporter. Will show too much respect to deep speed and allow separation by receivers who slam on brakes and catch passes in front of him. Ejected from Louisville game for targeting. Flagged nine times for 132 yards over the last two seasons.


Video Analysis:

  • Due to the music, video is NSFW
  • Johnson shows aggressive on this reel, which is good overall, but can see how he might struggle with it at the pro level in terms of missed tackles and undisciplined angles
  • Great leaping ability, which is supported by his vertical of 41.5′
  • Gritty and plays with an edge.  Not afraid to stick his shoulder in there on run support
  • Seems to play well in man-to-man but does his skill set translate in zone coverage?
  • Has good ball skills and speed to stay with his man downfield
  • Seems to have good instincts on shorter routes, which would be a big plus from the nickel spot

If drafted by the Packers compares Johnson to Sam Shields.  The question would be if the Packers like what Shields brings enough to add another defensive back with a similar skill set.  The other question is if the Packers would be willing to spend a first round pick on Johnson or gamble that they can trade back a bit and still get him early in the second.  Johnson is not short on physical nor athletic ability.  His demeanor seems well-suited for a player who can quickly develop at the NFL level.  Needs to add some size.  Johnson would provide depth both outside and on the inside at the nickel spot.  I see him as the type of player who would benefit from limited playing time in year one and focusing on learning the pro game, but if he’s a first round pick, he has to contribute right away.  It all depends if the Packers personnel department agrees with Johnson’s first round grade.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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7 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest

  1. Many mock drafts push him well above the Packers #30 spot. I think he’d be a nice pickup if he’s there, though.

  2. Johnson would probably be a good, reasonably safe, pick at a position of some need. Pretty high floor, high ceiling. Looks like he can play slot, and should be able to play outside. GB likes to play a fair amount of man. There might be a prospect with solid 1st round grade available at #30, so I wouldn’t be running to the podium, but I’d probably be skipping up there.

    1. That was the comment I was going to make on Johnson in reply to Al: he’s one of the “safer” CBs in this year’s draft. I don’t think his ceiling is as high as some of the others, but he’s played a lot of football at his position — unlike some of the CB prospects near the top of this draft — and is a well known commodity.

  3. Had TT signed House, none of us would be thinking CB. That is why he should have signed House. Now he gets to burn a #1 pick on a replacement for House. Makes sense to me. Not.

    1. It’s House that has to sign not TT. House chose Jacksonville for more money, better weather, better women, and a starting position. I think most would do the same if in House’s position. The only thing Ted could compete with that was with more money and he wasn’t going to overpay him. Archie, you should be happy for House. He found a home. You can’t keep em all Archie.

    2. House showed he was ALL about the money Archie, no way in the world is Devon House worth the contract he got from Jacksonville. The money TT saved not signing House will go towards keeping Hayward and Daniels, pretty damn smart. I think everybody wanted to keep House, but not at that money!

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