In applying the franchise tag to CB Brent Grimes the Falcons bought themselves another season to try and hammer out a long-term deal, or to prepare themselves to take a corner-back early in the draft. While this move likely precludes them from taking a corner with the 2nd or 3rd round pick that doesn't mean it wouldn't behoove them to take a long look at some of the prospects who will be available deep in the draft.
This morning we're looking at one such subject- Leonard Johnson out of Iowa State who is currently trending as a 5th or 6th round selection. He was a player who could have really shot up draft boards if he showed some solid measurables in Indianapolis, but alas he was fairly middle of the road. A 4.71 time in the forty for a CB is pretty atrocious, but it's important to keep in mind there's a reason he'll be selected no earlier than the forth round.
The National Football Post believe that Johnson has upside, but don't confuse that with him having a high ceiling.
A well-built kid lacking ideal height, but plays fast and I like his footwork and balance. Isn't a dynamic athlete, but can play some press and off coverage, and looks capable of getting playing time both on the outside and in the slot at the next level.
Personally, I think his role at the next level will be as a nickel back, who could be brought outside on occasion, but he's really not a reliable CB to be used with regularity. The proof is in the pudding though, and thankfully we have a really good video to see how he dealt with the best receiver in college football- Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon
It's curious to note that Blackmon himself said that Leonard Johnson was one of the best CBs he faced all year.
He's just one of the more physical guys that I've faced, I just think he's better than the rest of the corners I've faced. He's one of the best in the Big 12."
Lofty praise from Blackmon, but as the video shows above, even when Brandon Weeden couldn't get the ball to Blackmon you can see that the WR got the better of Johnson on a lot of downs. At the end of the day, I think he'd be a good physical CB who the Falcons could pick up for cheap. I'll be stunned if he turns into anything more than a slot-CB, but he has enough ability that he'd be worth a pick.