Antonio Johnson DRAFT PROFILE – 2023 NFL DRAFT
Antonio Johnson NFL DRAFT SCOUTING REPORT INTRODUCTION
Antonio Johnson, a standout football player from East St. Louis High School, made a name for himself as a versatile athlete who excelled in both offense and defense. With a 4-star prospect rating, Johnson was highly sought after by college football programs across the country. Ultimately, he chose to attend Texas A&M after graduation.
In his first year as a college athlete, Johnson was unexpectedly thrust into action due to injuries on the team. Despite the challenge, he performed admirably, appearing in six games and racking up a total of 159 snaps as a cornerback. He made 12 tackles, with an additional assist, and managed six stops. Although he failed to secure any interceptions, his quarterback rating of 144.6 was disappointing.
As a sophomore in 2021, Johnson emerged as a star player, appearing in 12 games and playing an impressive 800 snaps for the Aggies. He recorded 58 tackles, with an additional 18 assists, and made 26 stops. His coverage skills were also notable, with one pass breakup, one interception, and an impressive QB rating of 71.2 when targeted.
In 2022, as a junior, Johnson remained an important player for the Aggies, contributing on 582 snaps across nine games. He once again demonstrated his skills as a reliable tackler, logging 55 tackles and 16 assists, and adding 28 stops.
However, his performance in the secondary was not as strong as in previous years, as he failed to force any pass breakups or interceptions, and gave up a QB rating of 91.2 when targeted. Nonetheless, Johnson showed his versatility by also recording seven total pressures and one sack throughout the season.
Antonio Johnson DRAFT PROFILE
Antonio Johnson is a highly intuitive defender known for his physical play style and versatility on the field. Texas A&M frequently positions him as a slot corner, split zone safety, and occasionally as a linebacker, and Johnson confidently executes each of those roles.
He has a sharp mind that quickly processes information, stays in the right position, and responds rapidly to his instincts. He is relentless in his pursuit of the ball and shows a no-nonsense attitude when playing through contact.
Johnson is an outstanding tackler, carefully arriving balanced, wrapping, and following through with his feet, resulting in no yards conceded after contact. He is a key player for Texas A&M’s defense, setting the tone for the team with his tenacity.
The Texas A&M defender looks like he will line up as a safety more than a cornerback in the NFL.
Antonio Johnson 40 yard dash- 5.15 SECONDS
Antonio Johnson PLAYER COMPARISON- C.J. Gardner-Johnson
SCOUTING REPORT- STRENGTHS
Antonio Johnson Texas A&M defensive back, is highly skilled, and equipped with impressive change-of-direction ability that allows him to easily mirror underneath receivers. He is also competent in both press and off coverage, demonstrating solid proficiency in each technique. Johnson boasts excellent ball skills, displaying an uncanny ability to track the ball, take the right route, and break up the play. He has exceptional hand-eye coordination, making him a reliable interceptor of the ball.
In addition to his on-field talents, Johnson is a cerebral player who is deeply knowledgeable about the game, able to quickly identify route recognition.
He is a reliable tackler with the ability to play in the box. Johnson is especially skilled at wrapping up the ball carrier and takes pride in his ability to deliver devastating hits in run support. He’s got a physical brand to his play, but isn’t an overly physical tackler
Johnson is an agile player with remarkable quickness for his size, which is listed at 6-3. He has good body flexibility, allowing him to play the ball effectively. He is exceptionally fluid, allowing him to mirror receivers, including holding his own with double moves.
He maintains a low posture in his backpedal, exploding forward toward the ball with an impressive closing burst. Additionally, Johnson is a willing and capable hitter, showing the ability to make plays against quick screens and in run support.
Finally, Johnson’s ball tracking ability is a defining characteristic, allowing him to locate and follow the ball downfield. He has no issue getting his head around when playing in a trail position, and his ball skills are impressive when breaking on a route. He is an accomplished tackler in run support, making him an all-around formidable defensive back.
Johnson is a natural at zone coverage, effortlessly reaching his designated areas on the field, recognizing route combinations, and frequently anticipating routes, making it easy for him to adjust on the fly.
He can also handle man coverage, especially against larger slot receivers and tight ends, despite having room for improvement in his ball skills. When driving forward on the ball, Johnson can disrupt the catch point effectively, but he lacks awareness when facing away from the line of scrimmage, missing opportunities to make plays down the field.
SCOUTING REPORT- Weaknesses
While Johnson’s versatility is a valuable asset for Texas A&M, there are concerns that he may not have a specific position that suits him in the NFL. He is a bit of a high-cut athlete, and his transitions and change-of-direction skills may be segmented. Furthermore, it remains to be seen whether the NFL will embrace his hybrid slot corner/safety role, making it uncertain whether he has a defined position.
He’s more of a safety due to his good speed, but only average long speed. He would be a big nickel corner at 6’3″ and plays physical, so zone coverage safety makes more sense. He could match up well on bigger slot receivers, maybe tight ends, but matching up man on quick receivers is not in his skillset.
Antonio Johnson NFL DRAFT SUMMARY
Johnson’s diverse skillset in coverage, tackling, and run defense makes him an intriguing prospect with the potential to become a quality starter at the next level.
- Fantastic size; man coverage option against tight ends
- Great in zone coverage
- Diverse defensive weapon
- Does he fall a bit because he’s more safety than corner?
- Lack of turnovers in 2022
- Expect more physicality given his size
Expect Johnson to be a back of the first round into the early second round selection in April’s NFL draft. The Texas A&M corner is our 28th ranked prospect on our 2023 NFL draft big board and the 2nd ranked safety. He’s the 6th ranked defensive back.