Name: Jadar Johnson
Position fit: Free safety
Stats to know: 0 run stops in 173 snaps within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage.
What he does best:
- Solid footwork when running with receivers.
- Uses his size and physicality well in man coverage situations.
- Tracks the ball well in the air and does a solid job of outplaying the receiver in the air.
- Made some excellent plays as center field safety.
- Gave up receptions on just 24 of 44 throws into his coverage last year with just one touchdown allowed compared to 10 total passes defended.
- Shies away from contact, and his tackling near the LOS is poor; will limit him to a FS position.
- Can take questionable angles to make tackles on underneath throws when he’s in single high looks.
- Struggles changing directions effectively; too often late to close when asked to transition laterally from pedal.
- Very poor tackler; tends to overrun plays and does not break down effectively in space.
- Has baseline athleticism and speed but at 4.60 for the 40 and 33 inch on vertical, doesn’t compare favorably to top safeties in this year’s class.
- Just 12 total defensive stops with 15 missed tackles in 2016.
- Susceptible to the big gaffe; gave up receptions of over 20 yards in seven different games in 2017.
Player comparison: Duke Ihenacho, free agent
While Ihenacho flashes some ability in coverage, he struggles against the run in large part due to poor tackling. He missed 13 tackles as a rookie playing 939 snaps in 2013, then after playing just 13 snaps the following two years, missed 15 in 2016 in just 638 snaps.
Bottom line: Johnson’s ability to stay in the league looks like it will come down to if he has the athletic ability to be a full-time free safety. His inability or unwillingness, at the very least, to play the run around will pigeonhole him into a FS role. His ball skills are good, but he’s inconsistent with his angles and footwork. Because of his poor tackling he’s unlikely to be a consistent contributor on special teams.