Jamar Johnson Draft Profile
Indiana is a big school, that’s not a question, but they’re not known for their football players. With Justin Fields and Ohio State coming to town, you know scouts will be there and Jamar Johnson was able to show off. Against Ohio State, in the biggest game of his career, Johnson balled out! He picked Fields off twice and got a sack on the top quarterback prospect. That gives me confidence to say that when the bright lights are shining on Jamar Johnson, he won’t back down. He can step up when his team needs him the most and will be in the back end of that defense.
First things first, Johnson provides positional versatility. While he is best at free safety, he can also come down in the box and rush the passer. Johnson’s best attribute is playing the football. He’s great in coverage and doesn’t get a lot of penalties. He showed that he’s able to buckle up and come down hill and rush the quarterback. He understands how to shoot gaps cleanly and he’s got very good eyes and instincts. You can tell when a player understands the game, it’s very clear to see that Johnson knows all the x’s and o’s to his defense. When the defense sends a blitz, he understands how the opposing quarterback will react so he’ll either cut his splits or give the receiver a certain leverage. At Indiana, Johnson ran a lot of cover one and cover two. He was tasked with covering a hefty amount of space on the field and he can get from point a to point b very easily. This isn’t the strongest safety class, but Johnson has a lot of talent.
The biggest issue that I saw on tape was watching Jamar Johnson tackle. It’s very frustrating to see that Johnson never wrapped up and missed a ton of tackles. The only time I saw him make a perfect form tackle was when sacking Justin Fields, but outside of that it was just him throwing his shoulder hoping he’d make contact. If Johnson can’t wrap up at the next level he won’t be in the league for a very long time. Outside of his tackling, I’m worried about his speed. Johnson isn’t super slow, but he doesn’t have that top end long speed. This would either result on him being out ran for a touchdown or beaten over top. While Johnson does have good eyes for the most part, there would also be times where he falls for the play action or a pre-snap motion resulting in a wide open receiver. Johnson has some major holes in his game that he needs to fill prior to starting in the NFL.
A safety with a similar play style to Johnson is Juan Thornhill of the Kansas City Chiefs. I don’t think Johnson can necessarily come in from day one and start. If put in the position to sit behind a guy like Bobby McCain or Logan Ryan with the Dolphins or Giants, that would be amazing for Johnson. He still needs time to develop, but he can be a role player for them and be a special teams ace. I have a fourth round grade on Johnson, but I think he goes sometime on day two, I’d guess in the middle of the third round. By no means is Johnson a finished product and I still think he has a lot to develop.
Eyes + Instincts 7.75/10
Ball Skills 7/8
Man Coverage 3.75/6
Zone Coverage 4.5/6
Final Rating: 72
Pro Comparison: Juan Thornhill
Team Fits: Dolphins, Giants, Rams
Draft Ranking: Early Fourth Round Pick
Draft Projection: Third Round Pick