By: Chip Turner
Jamar Johnson – Indiana
6’1” – 197 pounds
I’ll be the first to admit it; when someone first said to me, “You should take a look at Jamar Johnson,” my first reaction was “who the heck is Jamar Johnson?”
Now I know.
Jamar Johnson wreaks havoc on a football field. He’s aggressive and instinctive against the run, has good size and speed as a blitzer, and has the versatility to play corner and safety. He improved his play every year at Indiana; four of his seven career interceptions came last year. He’s also shown the ability to diagnose plays well and anticipate throws; he picked off Justin Fields twice in their 2020 meeting. Although he doesn’t possess great box safety size, he’s fearless as a tackler, submarining RBs before they can hit their stride.
While he’s a good defender facing the ball, Johnson needs to learn how to turn his head while in a trail position; there are plenty of examples of him blatantly face-guarding with contact or just timing a pass defense attempt by watching a receiver’s reactions. Face-guarding itself isn’t a penalty in the NFL, but Johnson is a physical defender; he’ll either get burned or draw a flag far too often. I’m also not certain he’s going to have enough range to be a free safety in the NFL; his future might be as a box or hybrid safety.
Johnson is a rapidly-ascending prospect who has shown the ability to be a disruptive force on the gridiron, but I wonder about his transition to the NFL. He could be selected as high as late day two at the end of April, but I suspect he’ll more likely be an early day three pick.