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NFL Draft Profile: Anthony Johnson, Safety, Virginia Cavaliers

NFL Draft profile scouting report for Virginia S Anthony Johnson
Virginia S Anthony Johnson
Virginia cavaliers logo

#3
Pos: S
Ht: 6020
Wt: 202
Hand: 858
Arm: 3348
Wing: 7738
40: 4.50
DOB: 1/12/1999
Hometown: Saint Petersburg, FL
High School: Chaminade-Madonna
Eligibility: 2023

Anthony Johnson
Virginia Cavaliers


One Liner:

Johnson is an older outside cornerback prospect with excellent arm length, ball skills, and size, but he lacks aggression when defeating blocks and making tackles and suffers from some tightness in his hips.

Evaluation:

Johnson primarily aligns at outside boundary cornerback for Virginia. He frequently played man-to-man in 2021, picking the wide receiver up at the line of scrimmage. He also took reps in off-man coverage, but his skill set might be better suited for zone-heavy schemes in the NFL. Playing zone will allow Johnson to use his instincts, speed, and large frame to read and react to plays instead of asking him to stay plastered on potentially more agile athletes. Zone could also negate some of the pass interference calls Johnson drew in 2021 for grabbing receivers. The sixth-year cornerback has exceptional length and size for his position. His length allows him to contest receivers at the catch point, and he’s even able to reach all the way around and poke the ball away from some smaller targets. Johnson gets his head around to locate the football and has impressive ball skills. He’s taken 50-50 balls out of the hands of wide receivers before and turned them into interceptions. Johnson displays decent recovery speed to prevent getting stacked. He stays on top of wide receivers at the top of the stem, often smothering the route. Johnson has a quick downhill trigger on short throws and knows when to squeeze wide receiver routes along the sideline. He is sometimes early to open his hips and declare, which leaves him vulnerable to outside-in moves and vice versa. Despite his size, Johnson lacks aggression in many areas of his game. He only displays limited hand fighting with wide receivers throughout the route, and his punches in press coverage are often ineffective. He lunges to land punches in press coverage which miss their marks many times or lack stiffness and allow receivers to get a step ahead of Johnson on the route. He doesn’t challenge blockers with his length and is complacent being stuck on wide receiver blocks. Johnson’s motor doesn’t run hot in pursuit, and he drags players down for tackles instead of driving through them. This low-hitting, dragging style plus some poor angles to the football lead to missed tackles. Johnson struggles to stay in phase against smaller and shiftier receivers and has some difficulty staying connected to receivers on curl and comeback routes. He has some tightness in his hips and lacks elite change of direction skills. The Florida native sometimes takes eye candy in the backfield or on potential wide receiver screens and allows a player to come open downfield. Johnson has the size to play safety if an NFL team asks him to transition, but he lacks the aggressive, downhill mindset to contribute against the run in that role.

Grade:

4th Round

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Background:

Johnson was a three-star cornerback recruit from Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood, Fla. in the class of 2017. He was the No. 1,452 recruit according to the 247Sports Composite board and No. 1,477 for On3.com. Johnson was an unranked three-star recruit for Rivals. He was an unranked three-star recruit for ESPN with a 73 grade out of 100. As a high school junior in 2015, he produced 30 stops with ten passes defensed and three interceptions. Johnson also participated in track and field at Chaminade-Madonna College Prep. He graduated from Louisville with a degree in marketing and was the first player in Cardinal football history to break up passes on three consecutive plays. Johnson transferred from Louisville to Virginia before the 2021 season.