I recently broke down several games that Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson played over the course of the last three seasons and in those posts I believe I highlighted several plays in which he missed tackles. Now, thanks to a study done by Pro Football Focus, we have a missed tackle stat to attach to Johnson.
In a Friday post on PFF, Gordon McGuinness writes that Johnson had 10 missed tackles in 2014 and that translates to one missed per every 5.1 attempted. Compared to all draft-eligible cornerbacks that the site studied, Johnson apparently tied for the ninth-worst when it comes to that stat.
The Pittsburgh Steelers expect their cornerbacks to be reliable tacklers and Johnson’s problems in that area of his game are ones that have been linked to him all offseason. It’s a legitimate concern.
PFF has Washington’s Marcus Peters as missing just one tackle against the run in 2014 but missing seven on passing plays. Michigan State’s Trae Waynes missed a tackle once every 8.3 attempts. FSU’s P.J. Williams apparently had his share of tackling problems as well, as he missed 18 total tackles in 2014, the most of any cornerback. Oregon State’s Steven Nelson, however, didn’t miss a single tackle in 2014. As you well know, Nelson is one of my favorite mid-round cornerbacks and the Steelers apparently have some level of interest in him.
Outside of his tackling problems, PFF still isn’t as impressed with Johnson in coverage as most others are.
He does have great balance which stops him from being beaten immediately off the line where so much damage can be done, but there are too many question marks in the rest of his game.
He doesn’t possess great top-level speed on the field. This will lead to him losing plenty of one-on-one battles with NFL receivers and at times it looked like he was deliberately playing off to protect his speed. The need to jump up from there and attack under routes led to him being beaten on double moves on more than one occasion.