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Aggies S Antonio Johnson 'Biggest Steal' of NFL Draft for Jaguars?

Taken with the 160th overall pick, Texas A&M Aggies safety Antonio Johnson wasn't exactly given a vote of confidence by NFL teams. But with his opportunity on the Jacksonville Jaguars next season, he may be about to prove many teams and coaches wrong.
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As the Texas A&M Aggies continue to prepare for next season, their focus remains on bouncing back from their 5-7 finish last season.

Accomplishing that task requires both players and coaches to lock in, which is echoed at the NFL level. There, Antonio Johnson, De'Von Achane and Jaylon Jones are in full offseason swing, preparing to make an impact on their respective teams next year as rookies.

But Johnson could be making an even bigger impact than his former teammates.

In its post-NFL Draft evaluation, Pro Football Focus named one player from each of the draft's seven rounds that it considered a steal, listing Johnson as the name from the fifth round.

Much to the surprise of Aggie fans on the day(s) of the draft, Johnson was nowhere to be found through the first three rounds. He had been projected somewhere in the 70th-pick range, but continued to be passed up by teams pick after pick, watching several other safeties go before him.

Eventually, Johnson's number was called by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 160th overall pick, giving him a chance to prove his talents at the next level.

"Johnson was the 53rd-ranked player on PFF’s final big board, so for the Jaguars to get him more than 100 picks beyond that spot signals “draft gem” potential," PFF wrote. "Johnson’s tape had some inconsistencies to it, but the hybrid safety-nickel defender earned a 91.0 PFF grade since 2021, and when lined up in the slot, specifically, he earned a 91.2 PFF grade, which was the highest grade at that alignment of any defensive back."

The Aggie safety's size, speed and athleticism made him a solid defender with NFL potential throughout his three years at A&M where he earned SEC honors multiple times.

His skillset would certainly prove useful for a young Jaguars team, especially coming off of a strong year with an unexpected playoff performance. If Johnson truly is one of the best "steals," the Jaguars are likely to love what they see from him next season.

"With [Jacksonville's] Darious Williams likely moving back to outside cornerback in Jacksonville, there are snaps to be earned at the nickel spot for Johnson," the site wrote. "[He] could be a Year 1 contributor for the team in that area if he can hit the ground running."

The Jaguars and Johnson will be returning back to Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys in the first week of the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 12 before kicking off the 2023 season in Week 1 on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.

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