Jaylon Johnson would be a solid fit with the Las Vegas Raiders
By Evan Groat
The Las Vegas Raiders have their biggest need at the cornerback position heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, and Jaylon Johnson could be the answer.
Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson is one of many prospects who hopes to hear his name called when the 2020 NFL Draft gets underway on April 23rd. Johnson, a junior is one of the draft’s top cornerback prospects, a major need for the Las Vegas Raiders.
This week he was a guest on Bleacher Report’s Stick To Football podcast with host Matt Miller and sidekick Connor Rodgers. As the interview wrapped up, Johnson was asked if he had a hunch as to who he felt would select him.
"“That’s crazy,” said Johnson. “You put me on the spot. A hunch? Hmmm, I would say the Raiders. Yea, a hunch I’d say the Raiders with a hunch.”"
If Johnson’s intuition is correct it would mean good news for the Raiders. At 6 feet tall and 193 pounds, Johnson fits the bill of what Paul Guenther likes in his corners. He is a tough, physical, press man corner who isn’t afraid to come up in run support. On paper, he sounds a lot like 2019 second round draft pick Trayvon Mullen.
You can catch the interview here:
Dane Brugler, NFL draft analyst from the Athletic had these things to say of Johnson in his scouting report.
"Loose athlete…quiet feet and fluid change of direction skills to turn and run…works hard to stay on top of routes, using his body to cut off vertical patterns…anticipates well from off coverage to click and close before the throw arrives…quickly finds the ball in flight and does receiver-like things at the catch point…returned two of his seven interceptions for touchdowns, including a 100-yard pick-six…looks to mix things up in bump and run…aggressive run defender and doesn’t mind throwing his body around…solid height and length, but plays even bigger due to his competitive nature…already owns a professional demeanor and his coaches say he owns the “appetite for work and improvement.”"
In three years with the Utes, including two as a starter, Johnson registered 28 passes defended, and seven interceptions. In his final season, he was named second team All-American. Another impressive stat on Johnson that you won’t find in a boxscore is that he graduated in three years from Utah with a degree in business.
The major concern that teams have with Johnson is the health of his shoulder. As a senior in high school he suffered a torn labrum which required surgery in 2016. A year later the same shoulder required a second surgery.
Showing grit and toughness, just recently we learned that Johnson played the majority 2019 season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He had surgery just a few days after competing at the NFL Scouting Combine, and will be good to go this summer.
The time table for his return is four months which would put him on schedule to return before training camp. Johnson is one of several names to keep an eye on if the Raiders decide to draft a cornerback with one of their early round picks.
Heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, Mullen leads a position group with a lot of youth behind him, including guys like Keisean Nixon and Isaiah Johnson. The safety spot has already been bolstered during free agency, and if the Raiders can get better at cornerback, they could finally have a secondary that is considered a strength, and not so much a weakness.