EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - AUGUST 16: Larry Taylor #15 of the New York Jets breaks a tackle from D.J. Johnson #28 of the New York Giants during their game at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 16 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Quick story for you (and yes, it has relevance to what the title suggests the article will be about): Back in 2001, I'm with a buddy in a bar watching the World Series. Why am I watching it? Boredom. That, and it was not long after September 11th, and I was feeling a bit run down. The NY Yankees were facing the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it was assumed by just about everyone at the time that the Yankees would own, and, by doing so, lift some of the darkness that had settled (literally and figuratively) over New York.
Game One, and up to bat for the Diamondbacks is some no-name, scrawny-looking kid named Craig Counsell. He looked all of 120 lbs soaking wet, and he was facing off against Mike "Moose" Mussina, who had a 2001 post-season ERA of 1.38 going in.
When Counsell took to the plate, an obnoxious Yankee fan behind us asked aloud (in an accent that would make My Cousin Vinny proud): "Who's this skinny b*tch?"
The place erupts with laughter. A few pitches later, Counsell homers off Mussina and ties the game. 1-1 Diamondbacks. The place stops laughing.
Arizona crushed the Yankee ace that night, knocking "Moose" out after just three innings. Diamondbacks went on to win the game 9-1, and then the series in seven games off a famous Luis Gonzalez single in the 9th inning.
Side note: Counsell is from South Bend, IN.
The point to this story and how it relates to the newest ? Well, it turns out that D.J. Johnson is Craig Counsell's love child. acquisition, CB
Yeah, I'm lying there. Craig Counsell didn't sire D.J. Johnson. Though, it would be kinda hilarious if he did. The connection is the "Who's this skinny b*tch?" line, because it seems every time Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson makes a move for a new cornerback, I can't help up recall that Yankee fan's voice from 2001.
Remember when Indianapolis traded for ? "Who's this skinny b*tch?"
When they signed ? "Who's this skinny b*tch?"
When they claimed Korey Lindsey off waivers from the Cardinals? "Who's this skinny b*tch?"
And now, D.J. Johnson.
Don't get me wrong. I am very pleased that the new G.M. is actually, you know, doing something about improving the roster, unlike the old G.M. who was known by some within the organization as a lazy brat who only had the job because his dad was the president of the club. Ryan Grigson isn't about sitting back and hoping the roster develops into something good. He seems pro-active, and he also seems to know that old Polian draft picks Kevin Thomas and Chris Rucker likely aren't going to cut it. If he had faith in them, you wouldn't be seeing all these roster moves for corners.
But, who is D.J. Johnson? Does he have a chance of making the 53-man roster and, like me, does he enjoy asking rhetorical questions in blog posts?
Yes, he does. Here's why...
OK, I'll admit that I have no idea if Johnson likes asking rhetorical questions. However, I do think he has a legit chance at making the 53-man for the simple reason that the Colts corner position is about as devoid of talent as Carrot Top.
Jerraud Powers is the only legit corner. Starting opposite of him could literally be anyone else. The principle requirements of a corner in the new Colts defensive system are A) Decent size, B) Good speed, and C) An ability to play man-to-man coverage.
Johnson has all three.
Prior to the 2009 NFL Draft, Johnson clocked a 4.50 40 time at the Scouting Combine. Though he went undrafted out of Jackson State, he was signed by the Broncos, but was released that year before signing with the Giants and spending two years with them. After that, he spent time with the the Buccaneers before landing with the Vikings in 2011. That year, he was signed off Minnesota's practice squad by the Redskins. Washington then cut Johnson in November of last year before he was scooped up and added to the Eagles practice squad.
Ryan Grigson worked for the Eagles front office last season when they signed Johnson.
In my quest to learn all I can about this new corner that the Colts seemingly scraped from the bottom of the barrel, I came across this little article written last month by Mike Greger at Metro:
Johnson has been impressive in these [Eagles] spring passing camps. Working mostly with the backups, he has flashed unadvertised speed and great leaping ability. It's something that some -- mostly NFL scouts -- didn't give him credit for when he came out as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
"I'll let the scouts judge me off my 40 time," said Johnson, who posted a 4.5 in the 40 at the 2009 NFL Combine, "and I judge myself off what I do on the field."
Johnson's been with six clubs in four seasons, but, for whatever reason, teams seem to have an interest in him. When he isn't being signed off someone's practice squad, he's being traded for. This doesn't suggest a screw-up who isn't any good. It suggests an individual with talent who just hasn't landed with the right team, at the right time.
Maybe the Colts are the right team. Maybe this is the time. Maybe he's the love child of Craig Counsell.
In all seriousness, if a player like Johnson, or King, or Vaughn develops into a semi-decent corner, it would be a huge boost to this defense. I still have a hunch that, within the next week or so, the Colts will swing a trade with Dallas for Mike Jenkins and start him opposite Jerraud Powers. If they do that, perhaps a player like Johnson can find his home covering the slot, and he can be Indy's "skinny b*tch" there.