You can pretty much expect the Atlanta Falcons to address the cornerback position fairly early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here is another corner prospect to keep an eye on.
Things are looking quite flexible in terms of the Atlanta Falcons draft strategy going into this year’s edition of the NFL Draft. Could the Falcons go corner in round one? Or will they address the offensive line? Will they make a blockbuster trade to select an elite prospect? Is there a running back in the mix? So many questions and in all honesty, that may actually be a good thing.
I recently highlighted one of my favorite prospects in the draft in Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting as one prospect that is on the Falcons radar at the cornerback position, Time to turn our attention to another big corner with speed and athleticism.
Isaiah Johnson Scouting Report
Weight: 208 lbs
Career stats: 115 tackles, four interceptions, 12 pass deflections
Games watched: 2017 vs. Temple, 2018 vs. Tulsa, 2018 vs. Texas Tech, 2018 vs. Arizona, 2018 vs. Memphis
Strengths: Johnson’s collegiate career did not start off as a cornerback, as he was recruited and committed as a wide receiver. The full time switch to the cornerback spot did not occur until his junior season. As a corner, Johnson has a great frame and is long-limbed. His height, weight, speed combination is quite impressive. Despite brief experience at the position, Johnson is very smooth in his backpedal and can make fluid transitions out of his backpedal.
As a big bodied corner, Johnson is often one of the fastest players on the field in any given game. His long speed allows him to track down ball carriers when chasing from behind. His long arms make it difficult for quarterbacks to over the top of him or into a narrow window with him present. Johnson is able to stick to receivers on vertical routes very well. His overall athleticism makes some aspects of being a cornerback appear seamless at times.
Weaknesses: As you already know, Johnson is still a work in progress as a cornerback with only two seasons worth of experience. His functional strength could stand to see some improvement as Johnson is inconsistent in block shedding from receivers in run defense. While his ability to break on the ball is quick and efficient, Johnson’s instincts need to improve as far as play recognition and overall football IQ. Technique as a tackler is average at best at this point. You would expect that a former receiver would have ideal ball skills but that is not necessarily the case for Johnson currently.
Conclusion: Johnson is almost the perfect prototype for the Cover 3 scheme that the Falcons operate out of. From the size to the length to the speed, Johnson fits the mold for what Dan Quinn likes in his corners. With that said, Johnson is raw as a prospect and year one will be a feel out period. But one thing is certain, Johnson has outstanding potential and has a higher ceiling compared to former Falcons draftee Jalen Collins, who has similar traits. Johnson’s athleticism and speed presents a unique defender has fixable traits and shows the ability to improve on the ball skills, tackling, and play strength. Johnson has a fourth-round grade to most analysts but I would not be surprised one bit if Quinn decides to snatch Johnson in round three instead.