2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Isaiah Johnson
School: The University of Houston
Weight: 205 pounds
Round Projection: Day 3
Despite an angular frame that would not appear to contain sudden burst, Johnson surprises. He profiles as a corner with good deep speed to remain hip to hip with receivers. Additionally, Johnson uses this explosion to drive on underneath or comeback routes. When he knows the route is not a vertical one, he turns and blurs towards the pass. At the next level, he will bring this trait with him, fitting into any defensive construct.
While Johnson can turn and run with wideouts, he prefers a more physical approach. That is to say, he uses his long arms to jam. Now, his arm length can serve as a hindrance, if he does not tighten his technique. Yet, he loves to use every inch of that 15-foot area to manhandle the receiver. Once the receiver does get free, Johnson will shadow the wideout and take the occasional risk. In the NFL, Johnson’s frame and quick hands will give average sized wideouts and even big receivers incredible fits down the field.
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A former wide receiver, Johnson is still learning the corner spot. As a result, the timing on double moves needs fine turning. With ample reps, this will smooth out any hiccups.
As an evolving prospect, Johnson quickly begins to learn the job. In his two seasons at corner, he managed to snare four interceptions and bat away twelve passes. While that does not seem impressive, realize that many of the elite CB prospects do not have many more picks.
Granted, many corners avoid contact like the plague. However, this aspect of Johnson’s game stands out. After breaking on the play, he will finish strong with power, zone specificity, and technique. Whether playing the run or in the passing game, Johnson’s approach never changes whatsoever. He drives the ballcarrier to the ground with force.
Granted, the Raiders have a young shutdown corner in Gareon Conley. On the other side, there is a cast of veterans and young talent. Yet, from a physical standpoint, Johnson stands far above the rest of the talent. First, his skillset would give the Raiders a developmental corner that would give them a physical bookend to Conley. Meanwhile, DB coach Derrick Ansley has a blank slate to develop. While the Raiders can draft Johnson on the third day, they should take their time with such an emerging talent.