Continuing my ongoing series “The Guys No One Is Talking About” I move on to the Free Safety Position. Dontae Johnson saw action in all 51 games of his college career and started the final 26. He amassed 200 tackles, 9 TFL, 4.0 sacks, 3 interceptions and had 15 PDEF’s. He is very versatile and has experience playing CB, Nickel Back and Safety. He also saw action as a returner his freshman year.
Will all of the players I profile in this series become Pro Bowl players or even solid starters in the NFL? Absolutely not. Some may become solid special teams guys, backups, or not make final cuts in training camp. However, for those of you who are familiar with the series, you know many have gone on to have solid careers in the NFL. This series is about getting these guys some recognition.
Height | Weight: 6-2 Â 199
College: North Carolina State
40 time: 4.55
Grade: 80 | Round: 3-4
Official Senior Bowl North Team Bio
2013 (SENIOR): Led the team in interceptions with three for the year …Ranked second on the team in tackles with 82 for the season, he led the team in solo stops … Moved back to safety following the injury to Jarvis Byrd – he played that position as a freshman and sophomore … Served as a team captain vs. LaTech, Syracuse and UNC.
2012 (JUNIOR): Moved to cornerback in the preseason after playing safety last year, he moved to the slot when the Pack brought in its nickel package … Matched up against the ACC’s leading receiver, Mike Campanero, in the win over Wake Forest, he held him to five catches for 14 yards … Named the ACC Defensive Back of the Week for that performance … Teamed with David Amerson to make up the tallest pair of starting CBs in the country … Had a huge game in the win over No. 3 Florida State, with six tackles and a 15-yard sack.
2011 (SOPHOMORE): The Pack’s nickel back, he started two games at linebacker when the Pack was in a 4-2-5 lineup … Earned the starting nod in the wins over No. 7 Clemson and the regular season finale versus Maryland … Saw action in every game of the season, playing a season-high 58 stops in the Clemson victory … Tallied three sacks for the season, all came in the last four games … A member of the university’s Pack’s Pact Program, which encourages campus leadership and networking.
2010 (FRESHMAN): Backup at the field safety spot, he saw action in every game but the Florida State contest … In for a season-high 62 snaps at East Carolina, his eight tackles in that contest were also his best … Started the win over Boston College, he was one of just five true freshmen to get the starting nod in 2010.
HIGH SCHOOL: Played safety for coach Jerry Eure at Pennington Prep … Considered the sixth-best prospect in the state … A first-team New Jersey all-prep performer … Recorded 108 tackles, six interceptions and three forced fumbles during his senior campaign … Pulled down 50 passes for 600 yards and 13 touchdowns as a receiver … Had 100-yard kickoff return for touchdown … Also played AAU basketball for Team NJABC … A sport management major.
- Dontae Johnson has good height and length and is extremely athletic. He was recruited to play both basketball and football. He has quick feet and elite lateral moving ability. (Basketball players usually do).
- Dontae Johnson has fluid hips and a nice pedal. He has receiver-like ball skills (he played WR in high school), soft hands and tracks the ball well. He has the closing speed to cover sideline to sideline. He is a very rangy player. He is a willing and physical run defender who isn’t afraid to come up and lay the wood. However, he needs to improve his tackling technique: get a little lower and wrap up more consistently.
- Dontae Johnson played power forward in basketball and boasts a 34″ vertical jump which makes him a good red zone defender: especially in the endzone. He moves well in traffic and as a former basketball player he is good at winning the jump ball battles. He adjusts well to low and wide throws despite his tall stature.
- Dontae Johnson closes quickly on the ball when in off coverage and against east west runs. Will pop receivers and runningbacks to try and dislodge the ball. He does a nice job of working through receiver blocks with strong hands and quickness.
The Dallas Cowboys could use some depth at the Safety position, but can’t afford to use a high draft pick due the glaring needs on the offensive and defensive lines.
Dontae Johnson has all of the intangibles to be a good center fielder at the next level. He matched up well against the ACC’s leading receiver, Mike Campanero as a junior: he held him to five catches for only 14 yards. Dontae Johnson doesn’t possess the elite straight line speed I look for in a CB at the NFL level which is why I projected him as a FS. However, I believe he could line up in the slot if needed there in a pinch. He is still a little raw and needs to improve his tackling (the bigger more physical receivers at the next level will break them if he goes too high) so I am only putting him in the 3rd to fourth round. He could also stand to gain about 5-10 more pounds of muscle. If I were to make and NFL Comparison it would be a young Kam Chancellor. Mainly because of his physical style of play.
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