After being just one of three true freshmen to see the field for Wake Forest in 2010, Kevin Johnson's football career took an unfortunate turn. The 6'0" cornerback was ruled academically ineligible for his sophomore season and relegated to a spot on the scout team.
But Johnson roared back after that setback and went on to start for three very successful seasons. He started 36 out of 36 possible games for the Deacs and established himself as one of the top corners in the ACC. His performance against Clemson this year on the national stage also earned him some praise in the media.
Currently, most pundits peg KJ as a first or second round pick. In a recent mock draft, Mel Kiper had him going to the Steelers at No. 22 overall. Most rankings have him as the fourth or fifth best corner in the draft, solidly behind Trae Waynes, Marcus Peters and P.J. Williams.
It's quite an improvement in standing for Johnson compared to last summer. Back then he was considered more of a mid-level prospect and expected to drop to the fourth or fifth round. Now he's catapulted himself into possibly a first round selection. Regardless, he will almost assuredly be the Deacs highest selected prospect since the 2009 NFL Draft, when Aaron Curry went No. 4 overall and Alphonso Smith was the fifth pick of the second round. Hopefully he'll have a better career than either of those two.
All of this recent praise for Johnson, including one ESPN.com writer comparing him to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, occurred before the NFL Combine. Despite initial reports that he would not work out, Johnson did in fact participate in several drills. Here are his results from today.
|40 Yard Dash
|3 Cone Drill
|20 Yard Shuttle
|60 Yard Shuttle
His vertical jump was tied for second-best among all participants while his broad jump was tied for third. His 20 yard shuttle was definitely his best performance of the day. His time was second overall out of all prospects who participated in the drill, not just defensive backs. A few of Johnson's competitors also shined, especially Trae Waynes. Proving his 6'0", 186 pound frame won't slow him down, Waynes lit up the 40 yard dash with a position-best time of 4.31 seconds. Johnson's 40 time was pretty much middle of the pack, and considering his nice size and length, it shouldn't really help or hurt him.
I would say Johnson helped his stock a little bit today by proving he's a natural athlete. Apparently he was able to successfully add some muscle to his frame. Wake had always listed him at 175 pounds, but the Combine's official website has him at 188 pounds. As it stands he looks a fringe first/second round prospect. It's interesting to note that some people like Kiper have him going in the early 20s while CBSSports has him as the eighth overall corner and more of a second to third rounder.
Keep checking back with BSD for more KJ coverage leading up to the draft.