If you’re looking for a Terrell Edmunds or Artie Burns level of surprise, Daniel Jeremiah’s mock draft is the place to go. In his latest projection released Tuesday morning, he has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Kentucky corner Lonnie Johnson at #20. Even admitting this is a surprise, he writes:
“This is higher than I have Johnson rated, but he’s catching a lot of buzz right now and the Steelers have a need at the position.”
I haven’t heard much about Johnson generating that much buzz lately but Jeremiah is one of the most plugged in draft analysts in the game. He is the prototypical long, lean corner, weighing in at 6’2, 213 pounds at the Combine. He ran 4.52 but tested better in the vert (38), broad (10’9″), and short shuttle (4.10). But the stiffness he shows on tape showed up in his three cone, turning in an uninspiring 7.01.
Our scouting report on him, linked below, notes how well he tracks the ball in the air and hit power when asked to rally downhill. But his stiffness and poor technique in press man are obvious issues while he picked off just one pass the last two years, hardly the playmaker the Steelers are likely to be gunning for. He came to Kentucky as a JUCO transfer.
The Steelers did send defensive assistant Teryl Austin to the Wildcats’ Pro Day. But that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the sheer number of prospects Kentucky has in the secondary. Johnson included, as many as five defensive backs from there may be drafted. The others are: Mike Edwards, Darius West, Chris Westry, and Derrick Baity Jr.
Most draft services project Johnson as a solid Day Two prospect so seeing him appear in the top 20 is a reach. If Pittsburgh does select a corner, it’ll more likely be LSU’s Greedy Williams, Washington’s Byron Murphy, or Georgia’s Deandre Baker.