While there is always going to be mystery when it comes to the NFL Draft, over the years the Dallas Cowboys have done their fans a bit of a favor and tipped their hands so to speak. Not only have they (not once, but twice) given us a look at their draft boards after that year’s draft was completed, but in their actions they’ve also alerted us to some key tells about their actions. In our must-read post from earlier in the off-season "< ahref= "http://dal.scout.com/story/1501993-cowboys-six-draft-tendencies-and-tells?s=112" target="_blank">6 Draft Tendencies and Tells" we listed the following:
This is by no means an end-all be-all list. Morris Claiborne wasn’t invited to the Ranch, and Dallas spend two picks to acquire him. Maybe the lack of development their helped guide their hand recently, as eight of their picks over the last two years were in for official visits. In that vein, we’ll be bringing you in-depth looks at the draft candidates that Dallas schedules for visits, so that you can be better informed about the small sample size many of the next group of Cowboys will likely come from.
Name: Kevin Johnson Position: Corner Back School: Wake Forest Height: 6’0” Weight: 188 LBs Intangibles/Honors: Second Team All-ACC - 2014 Communications Major pSparq Score: 125.7 Z-Score: 0.4 NFL Percentile: 63.9 pSparq is an approximation of the “Sparq Score” metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out 3sigmaathlete.com
Measurables vs others at his position:
Games Studied: Clemson, Florida State, Virginia Tech Coverage: Johnson moves incredibly well in coverage, and is very smooth in his back pedal and is . He covers well with his eyes, and because of his explosiveness, he plays well from off coverage. Plays the “flat foot read” very well and has the football intelligence to diagnose route combinations when he’s in zone or pattern match coverages, (made a GREAT interception against Clemson in this way). He’s not overly physical at the line of scrimmage when he’s in press, but he’s able to shuffle to shadow the WR and extend his man’s release. He rarely gets out of phase with the WR when he’s in press, and is in position to make plays on the ball ( 7 ints and 36 Passes defensed last 3 yrs). Although he’s not a big jam guy at the line, he plays physical down field, and isn’t afraid to deliver a big time blow when he has the opportunity. Can get a little “grabby” when he’s in man coverage, but is athletic enough that he doesn’t need to be, and I think you can coach it out of him. He plays the underneath game very aggressively, and will time you up if you throw the short stuff on him too often, but it can get him in trouble if he mis-reads a double move. Played primarily to the boundary (short side of the field), where he was left on an island often. Run Support: Johnson is a little slight in his build, and has to depend on quickness to slip blocks in the run game, and because he isn’t able to stack and disengage, he’ll guess wrong on the block and run himself out of the play. But he’s not afraid to mix it up physically and has stated he has the desire to get better in this aspect of the game.
Conclusion/Cowboys Projection: As cloudy as the Cowboys’ corner situation is, with the injuries to Morris Claiborne and the potential salary related stand-off coming with Brandon Carr, the Cowboys would be wise to look at a CB early in the draft, and it will be difficult to imagine a corner better than Kevin Johnson being available when they make the 27th selection. He will step in as a starting level player for the Cowboys from Day one and would combine with Orlando Scandrick to give Dallas the kind of explosive CBs they need, to feel good about the play in the secondary. The value would be perfect for Johnson at 27 as well, as he is likely to be chosen in the mid-to-late first round come the end of April, and could very well be the #1 corner on the Cowboys board.