Trumaine Johnson, NFL Draft 2012: Mid-Round CB Everyone Has Their Eye On

It can be hard for small school guys to shake the 'no competition' moniker that so often forces them low in the draft, but it's hard to ignore a CB the size of Montana's Trumaine Johnson, who at 6'2" and over 200lbs is one of the largest cornerbacks in the NFL draft. Size is nothing without skill, however, and that's what NFL teams are testing right now- whether he can be a solid NFL corner. As it stands there are few mid-round prospects who are meeting with more teams than Johnson who has no less than seven visits either scheduled, or completed. He's the kind of player that make GMs drool thinking about his ability, but also wary of his pitfalls.

Those pitfalls are very definite as the bad side to the lack of top flight competition he faced means that we don't really have a good read on his ability. That's not to say Trumaine was lazy, not by any stretch- he just wasn't tested as much as you like to see out of a prospect. With that frame you would hope he could be one of the elite press CBs in the draft, however schematically he was asked to sit in a zone for the majority of his snaps. The National Football Post sees this same problem with Johnson.

Typically when near the line he's in press bail and playing in more of a cover two look with his back to the sideline. Will pop a bit upright, but showcases quick feet and natural fluidity to his game. At times he gets a bit soft and will allow too much cushion underneath giving up some easy receptions. However when trying to get out of his breaks does a nice job sinking his hips and closing quickly on the football.

It's those underneath routes that will really hurt him in the NFL, as they tend to be the 'chain movers'; those vital 2nd and 3rd down receptions when an offense needs 5-7 yards. It appears Trumaine Johnson isn't one to give up the big play, but he'll have to improve and play tighter on his man. Even in a situation where he would become a nickel back the concern is matching him on a slot receiver or TE whose bread and butter are those shorter routes.

The good thing about these issues is that they are easily correctable. With a little time and effort you can teach a guy with those physical traits to shut down the short routes, and if he has a propensity to deny the big play he's already well on his way to success. For the Falcons Trumaine Johnson wouldn't be a week one starter, or ever a week five starter- however, if eased into the NFL it's possible you could see him getting 1st team snaps by the end of the year, and possibly even supplant Brent Grimes should the Falcons move on after the 2012 season.


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