The Cornerback class is pretty deep this year, and one of the main reasons is there are so many small school guys who are NFL-caliber, something we don't see very often. One of the better small school CBs this season is Montana's Trumaine Johnson, a converted Wide Receiver who dominated in the Big Sky Conference last season.
Johnson is a big corner, standing at 6'2", which is a major plus at the cornerback position. He was asked at the Combine if teams were looking at him strictly as a CB, and he did say most teams have asked if he could play safety as well, especially considering the sub-par 40 time he ran (4.61). He did make it clear, however, that he wants to play corner in the NFL.
For his career Johnson played in 47 games, collected 173 tackles, intercepted 15 passes, ran two of them back for a touchdown, and had 35 pass break-ups. He was a two-time Walter Camp All-American and three-time All-Big Sky Conference first-team player as well, starting in all four seasons. Playing in the Football Championship Series he didn't get to go up against too many elite receivers, but did tell a story at the Combine about how he was thrown into the fire as a Freshman against now Giants WR Ramses Barden in his very first game playing corner. How did it go?
Barden, oh, first half, he torched me. He's a great player, he's a great player. Second half, I clamped down and we won the game by one.
The one red flag on Johnson is an arrest he had back in October for obstructing a peace officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. From the couple articles I read, it seemed as though the cops showed up to a party, a teammate of his got confrontational with the police, hit one of them in the chest, and as his teammate was being tasered, Johnson ran over to help. When Johnson wouldn't get away from the scene, he was also tasered and arrested. This article claims conflicting reports on the role of the players, and Johnson was not suspended for his role in the incident. Certainly something to look into, but it really doesn't sound that bad.
After the jump we have what some draft sites have to say about Johnson, as well as all his measurements from the Combine and my thoughts on him.
A tall, good-looking prospect with some natural girth to his frame, but isn't bulky. Is still lean enough in his lower half to turn a run. Possesses good length and overall strength for the position as well. Has an ideal frame to be a press cover man and is a solid tackler in the run game...At times he gets a bit soft and will allow too much cushion underneath giving up some easy receptions...A talented kid who physically/athletic reminds me a lot of Jimmy Smith (Baltimore Ravens).
Safety-sized with movement skills, Johnson has long arms, press ability and was recruited as a receiver. Skill set will be in demand, but he will have to land in a disciplined, structured environment to maximize his potential.
Johnson is arguably one of the best and most polished NFL prospects to come out of the Big Sky Conference in quite some time. He is a big, athletic cover corner who has completely dominated his competition to this point in his career. He has the speed and agility to stay with receivers and also the height -- a shade over 6-foot-2 -- to match up in the red zone.
Johnson seems to be a perfect fit for Chuck Pagano's defense, especially with the comparisons to Jimmy Smith, who I'm sure Pagano had a great deal to do with him landing in Baltimore last season. The off-the-field issues may warrant a little investigation, but I don't see what happened to him being a deal-breaker by any means. As far as talent goes, Johnson seems like one of the many viable options at pick #34.
For a complete list of prospects and profiles, check out our 2012 Draft Profiles Page.