Scout's Notebook: WR Jaymar Johnson

The Vikings rounded out their draft with Jackson State's Jaymar Johnson, an explosive, big-play receiver and return specialist. Here's the full scoop...

Jaymar Johnson, WR-RS
(5111, 183, 4.38-4.59) Jackson State

Notes:  Born 7/10/84 in Gary, Indiana.  Parents are James and Elizabeth Johnson.  Was named all-state, all-area and all-conference as a senior in high school.  Had 50 catches 896 yards and 20 touchdowns in 8 games as a senior.  Married.

College:  Academically ineligible to play in 2003, spending the year on the scout team.  Saw limited action in 3 games as a true freshman in 2004; returned 4 kicks for 63 yards (15.8 avg.).  Started 6 games in 2005 before tearing his left MCL; caught 22 passes for 285 yards (13.0 avg.) and one touchdown, rushed twice for 44 yards and returned 2 kickoffs for 52 yards (26.0 avg.) and one TD.  Started all 11 games in 2006; caught 30-527-2 (17.6 avg.), rushed 4-63-0 (15.8 avg.), returned kickoffs 8-116-0 (14.5 avg.) and returned punts 19-241-1 (12.7 avg.).  Started all 12 games in 2007; caught 36-613-7 (17.0 avg.), rushed 6-15-0 (2.5 avg.), returned punts 24-231-1 (9.6 avg.) and kickoffs 9-152-0 (16.9 avg.).  He caught 66 balls for 1,140 yards (17.3 avg.) and 9 touchdowns and averaged 10.9 on 43 punt returns (with two scores) in his last two seasons.  Only one class short of earning his degree majoring in health education.

Pre-Draft workouts:  Recorded a 1.53 10-yard dash, 2.61Jaymar Johnson 20-yard dash, 4.50 40-yard dash, 4.18 short shuttle, 11.43 long shuttle, 6.75 three-cone drill, 32-inch vertical jump, 9'10" broad jump and did 14 reps at the NFL Combine.  Ran a 4.42 forty and posted a 35-inch vertical jump for scouts at his campus workout in March.

Pro:  Selected by the Vikings in the sixth-round (No. 193 overall) with a pick acquired from Jacksonville in exchange for WR Troy Williamson.

Positives:  Explosive receiver and return man.  Has a knack for getting behind defenders.  Impressed in Texas vs. The Nation practices (as well as the game) with crisp routes and the ability to snatch the ball with his hands.  Quick into and out of his cuts.  Good hands.  Well-built and very strong pound for pound.  Tough.  Makes good adjustments to the ball and can track it over his shoulder.  Good sideline awareness.  Adjusts well to the low ball and can make some diving catches.  Is quick off the line.  Darting runner after the catch.  Shows some quickness to make the first defender miss and shows good competitive speed to pull away when he gets a lane.  Will block downfield.  Good attitude and work ethic.  Coachable.  Can return both punts and kickoffs.  Versatile; was used in a variety of roles in college and seems to pick things up quickly.

Negatives:  Isn't a truly outstanding athlete.  Tends to try to catch the ball with his body.  Gathers to cut and breaks stride to catch.  Needs work recognizing soft spots in zone coverages.  A bit straight-linish after the catch.  Marginal blocker.  Has not faced top competition and is still somewhat raw and unrefined.

Summary:  Will compete for a roster spot, especially if he can prove reliable on punt returns.  A much better prospect than Chandler Williams (seventh-round pick by Vikings) a year ago.

What they said:

"Johnson is a native of Gary, Ind., so he grew up by the lake.  He's not going to be afraid of the cold.  He's married.  Gives you some punt return ability.  He played in the Texas vs. Nation and got a chance to see him do some things there.  Obviously, Jackson State has had a couple of good players who have come out of there.  We just like what he brings in terms of return ability, speed, burst and [run after the] catch." - Vikings head coach Brad Childress

"I'm real happy to be a Viking right now because they've got Tarvaris (Jackson).  He played at Alabama State in the SWAC Conference and they've got a great system and everything.  Chris Jones, who played receiver here at Jackson State and he played with the Vikings.  I just got off the phone with him and he was telling me how much of a good organization the Vikings were.  I met the coach at the combine and I believe the Vikings are a good fit."  - Johnson on post-draft conference call

"Explosive and versatile, the exciting big-play qualities he displays as both a WR and punt returner make Johnson an intriguing Division I-AA prospect."  - Mel Kiper, Jr.

"He is a big-play threat both as a receiver and a punt-returner, but he's also undersized and lacks ideal upper-body strength.  He is going to have problems beating press coverage and he will get muscled out of some routes."  - ESPN.com

"Raw, undersized, small-school product with some untapped potential.  Was a versatile playmaker at the Division I-AA level and performed well vs. better competition at the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game."  - Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly

"Johnson has superior speed, which translates well to the deep passing game.  He can be a handful for corners to cover over the top.  But he's more fast than quick as he struggles to come out of sharp cuts in his routes.  He will fight for the ball and shows good toughness to retain the ball after taking a hit.  Johnson will have to take advantage of the limited opportunities he will have, whether it be special teams or receiving from the slot."  - MSNBC.com

"Savvy individual who will flash position skills.  Good athlete with impressive body control.  No second gear.  Very unpolished in this under routes (flags everything).  Not particularly strong and showed little creativity as a runner after the catch.  Little guy with good but not exceptional skills.   Quicker than fast.  Caught the ball well both on and off his body.  Small-boned frame really concerns me.  Has a chance to develop".  - Tom Marino, Scout.com

"Johnson has exciting speed and big-play ability.  He had 36 catches for 613 yards and seven touchdowns this past season, but was heavily covered, as he often drew the attention of opposing defenses.  Johnson is a dangerous return man and brought back a punt 75 yards for a touchdown against Texas Southern."  - NFL Draft Bible

Other links:
NFL.com
Draftguys video
YouTube video
YouTube video
College Bio
StarTribune story
TwinCities.com story
ClarionLedger.com story

Other draftee profiles:
Scout's Notebook:  S Tyrell Johnson
Scout's Notebook:  QB John David Booty
Scout's Notebook:  DT Letroy Guion
Scout's Notebook:  C John Sullivan

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