Since his first head coaching job at Toledo in 1990, Nick Saban has coached All-Americans at every position but three. Ever wonder what they would look like together? Here's the All-Saban Team: [details]
2006 (Sophomore): Made his first career start against Hawaii, recording six tackles. He also started at safety against Tennessee, Florida International and Mississippi State. He finished the season with 33 tackles, including 22 solo stops, 1.5 tackls for loss and two forced fumbles. Missed the last two games of the regular season with an ankle injury but returned for the Independence Bowl where he posted a career-high seven tackles.
2005 (Freshman): Johnson played in every game on special teams and recorded seven tackles.
The Good: A smart, heady defender who reads run/pass quickly and has the instincts to consistently get after the ball. Reads so quickly that he often beats receivers and blockers to their spot in the pass and run game. A confident open-field tackler who is very patient and wraps up well on contact. A real ball hawk in the secondary but doesn't take himself out of plays. Possesses great hands and body control. Can create turnovers on all levels of the field. The Bad: Is a bit thin by NFL standards and will struggle the closer he gets to the line of scrimmage. Displays only average straight-line speed and range and is forced to rely on his instinct. Not a real powerful hitter; wraps up well but isn't going to dislodge the ball on contact.
Positives: Instinctive and aware. Plays smart. Reads coverages well and leverages the field. Takes good angles to the ball. Reacts quickly and is efficient out of his breaks in zone coverage. Very good ball skills - plays and catches the ball like a receiver. Rangy. Has changed games with big plays (see LSU). Loose-hipped and agile. Demonstrates balance to tackle in the open field. Good football I.Q. Makes secondary calls and lines up the defense. Determined and hard-working. Special-teams standout. Negatives: Looks like a cornerback with a narrow frame and is not built to take the pounding absorbed by the safety position. Too lean. Does not explode through tackles. Does not have great man-cover skills - technique is raw and must improve pedal and turn. Natural playing weight was 185 pounds. Summary: An instinctive, ballhawking, back-half defender who really took off under Nick Saban, Johnson has the mental makeup and physical skill set to start in the pros. Is not a physical intimidator, but is very smart and rangy and should contribute readily on special teams. Grade: Second-to-third-round pick.