From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Virginia CB Anthony Johnson.
#3 Anthony Johnson/CB Virginia – 6011 207 pounds
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Anthony Johnson||6011, 207||8 5/8||32 7/8||77 3/8|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Good size with great length
— Plays to frame, physical press corner that’s comfortable and embraces challenges receivers at the line of scrimmage
— Aggressive with the ball in the air, trusts himself to make a play in the football
— Uses length well to compete at catch point and contest against bigger receivers
— Tons of experience in man coverage and able to carry receivers vertically
— Willing tackler and run supporter, some experience blitzing off the edge
— Productive player who made an immediate impact at new school after transferring
— Experience at both outside cornerback spots
— Named team captain after just one year at Virginia
— Not a twitchy corner who plays a little tall and on his heels
— Feast/famine in press who can miss and lose off the line of scrimmage
— Doesn’t look as comfortable in zone and has less experience there, likes to have his hands on the receiver
— Gets grabby when he feels like he’s in trouble, will tug on jerseys when receivers get a step vertically and prone to drawing penalties
— Not an elite athlete who lacks top-end speed
— Didn’t have a great Senior Bowl week in practice against top competition from his class
— Made only 15 official starts in college career though he played in 42 games
— Played at Louisville from 2018 to 2020 before transferring to Virginia for 2021 and 2022
— Career stats: 138 tackles (9 TFL) 7 INTs
— 2022: 51 tackles, 2 INTs, 12 PDs
— Named 1st Team All-ACC for 2022
— Named team captain in 2022
— Three-star recruit from Hollywood, Florida, chose Louisville over Pitt and South Florida (only three offers)
— Avid fisherman who fished with his grandfather growing up, wants to open bait and tackle shop in Florida after his playing days
There are plenty of college corners who look the part. Big, tall, long. But there aren’t many who played in a press-heavy system, guys who talk the talk and walk the walk. Anthony Johnson is one of those guys. He has the size and experience pressing and jamming receivers at the line in a Virginia system that didn’t play its cornerbacks off, read the receiver through the quarterback, and make plays that way. They played man, plenty of it, and Johnson looked most comfortable in man coverage.
Some examples of it below.
He uses his size and length well to drive on breaking routes, curls and comebacks and quickly closes space. He’s aggressive on the ball in man coverage, as evident by his 12 pass breakups this past year.
Also like seeing his quick transition from Louisville to Virginia. Immediately allowed to play under NCAA rules, he started for the Cavs and played well and very quickly earned respect of his teammates, exiting as team captain despite spending only two years there.
But Johnson is a bit tight-hipped and plays a little high. He’s more comfortable in man and wants to get hands on receivers. If he feels in trouble at the tops of routes, he gets grabby. It’s an issue he had throughout the Senior Bowl and you can see it here in these two clips.
Overall, Johnson is a big and long corner that works best as a true press-man corner who can jam and reroute in Cover 2, sink, and drive underneath. Even the most man-heavy teams run it only about 50% of the time, making Johnson a bit of an awkward everydown fit and he might work best as a sub-package type that plays in more obvious passing situations for teams who run a lot of Cover 1/2 Man. It’s a deep corner class and Johnson presents solid value but the scheme fit will be important. My NFL comp is Daryl Worley, though Johnson is a bit faster.
Projection: Early Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.7 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (Third Round)
Games Watched: at Georgia Tech (2021), vs Notre Dame (2021), at Georgia Tech (2022), vs Old Dominion (2022), Senior Bowl