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Lonnie Johnson, cornerback
6’2” | 213 lbs | Kentucky
Draft grade: third round
Draft range: third round
40 time: 4.52
NFL Combine: 38.0” vertical jump, 129” broad jump, 4.1 20-yard shuttle, 7.01 three-cone drill, 15 bench reps
2018 Stats: four pass breakups, one interception, 23 tackles
Background: State champion long jumper and 4x100 relay runner during high school in Gary, Indiana. Spent his first two years of eligibility at Garden City Community College. Second-team All-Kansas Jayhawk CC Conference as a freshman with five interceptions. Sat out his sophomore year to concentrate on academics.
Strengths: Johnson has good size and length for the position, and his physical attributes translate well to a press-man scheme at the next level. He attacks underneath routes quickly, driving on the ball and using his length to narrow windows. He shows the ability to put together the whole package on his jam, with good hands and footwork. Johnson shows enough speed to be trusted against receivers on the boundary. At the Senior Bowl in Mobile, he held his own well and showed development. He was exposed to multiple techniques at Kentucky under new Chiefs linebackers coach Matt House.
Weaknesses: Despite exposure to several different coverage shells, Johnson didn’t perform well outside of press-man coverage. Johnson’s hips are very wooden and limit his change-of-direction ability — particularly in off-man coverage. He routinely gets turned around and loses sight of the receiver on inside breaking routes. With his back to the ball, he rarely turns his head around to locate the pass in the air. Johnson’s lack of production — only one interception at Kentucky — shows up on tape with his inability to attack the ball at the catch point.
How he fits with the Chiefs: Johnson might get a stamp of approval from House as a hard worker with good athletic traits, but he has very poor film and looks to be just a press-man corner at the next level. The Chiefs could take a flyer on him as a developmental project, but with Steve Spagnuolo’s rotating coverage schemes and need to adapt on the fly, Johnson isn’t a match made in heaven for this squad.
Player comp: James Bradberry
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