Dontae Johnson   CB/S   North Carolina St

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Dontae has the size, length, speed and football intelligence to play more than one position in the defensive backfield for the team that drafts him. He has the defensive radius (because of his size) to trail a receiver in coverage and still make a play on the ball. He shows very good recovery speed when he gets beat because of his long strides. He has excellent “reaction quickness” and comes up quickly to support the run and make the sure tackle. Dontae is a very smart zone defensive back who helps his teammates on the field before the snap with spacing and responsibilities. He is a coach on the field and his teammates respect his ability to make plays all over the field. He has played as a cover safety in the slot, as a cornerback shutting down a receiver in single coverage and as a single free safety covering sideline to sideline. Dontae will be able to shut down those big receivers in the middle of the field and the end zone. He is underrated because he has played so many different positions for his college team, but once he is selected and plays one position, his talent to impact will become obvious.

CONCERNS
I’m not sure how good Dontae’s hands are to make the interception, but something tells me they are just fine. Once he plays one position and doesn’t have to worry so much about his teammates and where they are on the field, I think he will make more plays on the ball. If Dontae plays corner in the middle of the field, might need help over the top with the speed receivers, but I don’t see that being a big concern as long as he learns better bump and run techniques.

BOTTOM LINE
He’s the deal…Dontae has the athletic talent, size, speed, reaction quickness, football intelligence and the defensive radius to play just about any position you want him to play as a defensive back. Bulk him up a little more and he could play OLB also. He is a good tackler and with his size and athletic talents it’s a big mistake thinking he will not become an impact player for you defense. I’m not sure what round Dontae will be selected in, but I am sure of one thing. I’d draft him at any point in this draft. Dontae is a senior -- and seniors with first round talent get pushed back once the juniors declare. That’s why we use the two board system to identify those players highly rated before the juniors declare. Their talent doesn’t change based on where they are projected to be drafted. Think of it as a math problem. If there are 15 to 20 Seniors with 1st round grades before the juniors declare and then you add 15 to 20 juniors with 1st round grades and then add to that the evaluation, the value of the position a player plays and then take into the account the different opinions of scouts and GM’s and coaches and you now can see how a player with 1st round talent can slip into the 3rd or even 4th rounds in a draft. It’s conceivable that Dontae could be one of those players who slips to the later rounds in this draft because some teams will think he is a safety and that position is not a “highly rated” value position. However, other teams might think he is just a nickel-dime defensive back and that position is not that highly valued compare to others also. What I’m saying is that Dontae has the potential to be an impact player at multiple positions on your defense and you don’t have to take him off the field. In fact you better leave him on the field and COACH HIM to use his versatility to your advantage!

Drew Boylhart
FEB/2014