NFL Draft

Greg Cosell Says Kevin Johnson Might Be The Best Zone Corner In The Draft

The 2015 NFL Draft will get underway one week from today and that means NFL Films draft analyst Greg Cosell is beginning to wind down his interviews. On Thursday, Cosell was a guest on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast, and he talked extensively about the top cornerbacks in this year’s draft class.

After first naming Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters and Jalen Collins as his top three cornerbacks in this year’s class, Cosell was asked to discuss Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson.

“Kevin Johnson I like,” said Cosell. “Kevin Johnson, to me, is maybe the best zone corner, in the sense of understanding route concepts. He’s very, very smart. Very rarely do you see college corners come into the NFL with an understanding of pattern reading, formations, carrying routes and then passing them on – those kinds of things. He’s really, really good at that. He certainly has the skill to be a press-man corner. He’s not quite as comfortable at that right now, he needs to be taught, but he certainly has the athletic ability to do that. But I like Kevin Johnson as well.”

One of the knocks on Johnson is his size and more specifically, the weight that he played at in college, and Cosell was asked to talk about that.

“He’s not short, he just doesn’t have a lot of girth, he’s slight,” said Cosell. “But it’s funny, when he played boundary corner, and he predominantly played the boundary corner in Wake Forest defense, which means he played to the short side of the field, and in college, that’s a very short side of the field. And there’s really three main responsibilities when you play boundary corner in college. You’ve got to be able to play man, you’ve got to be able to play the run with toughness and you’ve got to be able to blitz. He did all of those things, so its not that he’s unwilling to play a physical game, in fact, he’s very willing to play a physical game, it’s just that he’s not 205 pounds.”

At the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, Johnson measured in at 6-0, 188-pounds, so his weight is certainly going in the right direction. While his 40-yard dash time wasn’t eye-popping at the combine, Johnson did register impressive numbers in the 20-yard shuttle, three-cone drill, vertical jump and broad jump.

The Pittsburgh Steelers had plenty of representation at Johnson’s March pro-day, so it’s obvious that they’re interested in him. Should they ultimately wind up drafting Johnson in the first-round, or any other cornerback, it will mark the first time that position has been addressed that early since Chad Scott was selected with the 24th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft.

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