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2013 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Keelan Johnson - SS, Arizona State

Adding depth in the Secondary late in the draft is always a good idea, especially if a guy can cover WRs like a Corner, but hit like a Safety.


An NFL team can never have too many Secondary players on the roster. The positions are close enough skill-wise that guys can fill in for each other in a pinch. They also are very good special teams players, whether it is returning punts/kicks, or trying to tackle returners. Because of this, late-round draft picks are rarely wasted when taking a guy in the Secondary. A guy the Colts could have their eye on late is Keelan Johnson from Arizona State.

Johnson played in 49 games for the Sun Devils, starting 18 of them across all four seasons, and was not afraid to lay the lumber, so to speak. He finished his career with 169 tackles, over half of which came in his senior season of 2012 (88). He had eight career interceptions, five coming in 2012 (11th nationally), and was named First Team All-Pac-12 by, Honorable Mention by the AP. He's played both Strong and Free Safety, which is nice to have for injury purposes.

The individual stats don't tell the whole story, however, as ASU, as a team, was excellent in defending the pass, which is saying something when you play in the Pac-12. They only allowed 168 yards passing per game (3rd nationally), and 10th in Pass Efficiency Defense at 105.45 (NCAA uses different formula than NFL). Johnson played a large role in those lofty rankings, securing the back end and being able to actually intercept passes. It probably helps he came to Arizona State as a WR from high school before flipping to the Defensive side of the ball.

Johnson also played in the East-West Shrine game, and Jimmy Kempski from Blogging the Beast noted something that has me intrigued:

Safety Keelan Johnson had a good day in coverage in 1-on-1′s. In 1-on-1′s, he’s covering WRs. That should be a mismatch, but Johnson more than held his own, and was often being praised by the West coaching staff.

If Johnson can cover WRs, there's a good chance he can cover the new-age TEs that the Colts will have to face, which would be a nice luxury to have.

The Colts have had a revolving door at the Strong Safety spot since about 2007, which was the last year Bob Sanders was completely healthy the whole year. You can't expect a 7th round guy will step in immediately and be a 7 year starter (a little wishful thinking), but I think Johnson could be a valuable guy to have around for an injury fill in and several positions, as well as playing on special teams. NFL teams love guys that can play multiple positions. Somebody will find a spot for Keelan Johnson.

Stats from

Combine Measurements:

Height Weight 40 Time Bench Broad Jump Vertical 3 Cone Drill 20 Yd. Shuttle 60 Yd. Shuttle
6'0" 209 4.54 12 10'5" 36.5" 6.77 4.07 11.53