Leonard Johnson CB Iowa State #23
|Physical corner who doesn’t back down from any assignment. Likes to play up at the line and does a great job jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. Good all-around athlete; played quarterback in high school. Looks good in zone coverage; very patient and disciplined. Does a nice job getting his hands on the ball when in position to make a play. Has the size and strength to contribute in run support.|
|Needs to do a better job turning and locating the ball; has the skills to stay with a receiver, but consistently gets beat on jump balls because he’s too focused on mirroring the receiver and doesn’t turn to play the ball. Lack of height also hurts him in jump-ball situations. Run support is often just for show; gives just enough effort to get into the picture, but doesn’t consistently put forth the effort to shed blocks and make an impact play. Aggressive play leads to some penalties at times.|
|If Johnson were two inches taller he may be a 1st-round pick, but his lack of height is just enough to drop him into the 2nd or 3rd round range. The one major concern I have with Johnson is his tendency to mirror the receiver until the last second. That, coupled with his physical style, is going to draw a lot of penalties in the NFL. However, it’s all about technique and it’s a very fixable issue.|
|2011 vs Oklahoma State|
It’s no secret that the Dallas Cowboys need to upgrade their secondary, and Rob Ryan wholeheartedly agrees.
Alex Dunlap of the Austin Chronicle caught up with Ryan at the Senior Bowl, and asked the Cowboys defensive coordinator who he was focused on: “I’m only looking at DBs. Nothing else. DBs.”
Dunlap went on to say that Ryan has a particular interest in Leonard Johnson, a cornerback from Iowa State who could be an option in the 2nd or 3rd round.
It’s tough to say just how much say Ryan has in the Cowboys draft plans, but if he’s this blunt about their needs to the media, it’s safe to assume he’s going to be hounding Jerry Jones over the next few months about the issue.
The problem the Cowboys have, however, is that they may be stuck in no-mans land in the 1st round if they hope to address their secondary at that point. Dre Kirkpatrick [scouting report] would be an obvious target, but could be off the board by pick No. 14. There are a number of potential late 1st-round cornerback prospects, but anyone other than Kirkpatrick or Morris Claiborne would be a significant reach unless the Cowboys were to trade back.
There is one other name to keep on eye on, however: Janoris Jenkins [scouting report]. Based purely on talent, Jenkins is a top-15 prosect and would be a great fit in Dallas’ secondary. But most teams will drop him, or completely remove him, from their draft boards due to character issues.
Jerry Jones has shown a willingness to consider troubled-but-talented prospects in the past. He recently drafted Dez Bryant in the 1st round, when many others had dismissed him for off-field issues. And he’s made similar moves in free agency (Pacman Jones, Terrell Owens, etc).