NAME: Jaquan Johnson
JERSEY: No. 4
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 190 lbs
The Hurricanes leader in tackles (96) and interceptions (four) last season, Johnson is the ACC’s best draft-eligible safety prospect entering the season. Part of an experienced and talented Miami defense, there are high expectations for the unit in 2018.
What pops on film regarding Johnson is how urgent and physical of a player he is. Whether he’s playing 20 yards off the ball or lurking in the box, Johnson processes the action in front of him quickly and pursues with an unrelenting motor. He filters through traffic with good hand usage, takes clean angles in pursuit and securely wraps up the ball carrier when tackling. Despite not being the biggest safety, Johnson has excellent contact power and play strength. His aggressively flies into the box and boundary when playing forward.
For the most part, Johnson is sound in coverage but isn’t a candidate to serve as a true single-high centerfielder on a regular basis. He is much more effective operating in split zones and playing forward with some upside in man coverage. There are times when Johnson is a touch late breaking on the football. Improving that timing and being more prolific playing the football in the air is critical in Johnson cementing his status as a top safety overall in the class. While the NFL likes physical and aggressive safeties, it covets those that can make game-changing plays on the ball.
If Johnson can take another step forward in terms of showcasing a more versatile and complete skill set in 2018, he could enter the first round conversation. Given his supporting cast and experience on the back end of the defense, the stage is set for Johnson to prove just that.