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Kevin Johnson to Visit Patriots

The Wake Forest CB is a physical player with an explosive break to the ball.

Johnson is a fringe first round prospect in the upcoming draft.
Johnson is a fringe first round prospect in the upcoming draft.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

As per Aaron Wilson, the Patriots have lined up an official visit with Wake Forest CB Kevin Johnson. Wake Forest was an awful football team in the 2014 College Season, but not because of the contributions of Johnson. Johnson just missed the cut for my Top 10 Fits and ended up near the top of my 2nd Round Board.

Combine Data:

HT: 6'0"
WT: 188
Arm: 31"
10-20-40: 1.59-2.63-4.52
Vertical: 41 1/2"
Broad Jump: 10'10"
5-10-5 Shuttle: 3.89
3-Cone: 6.79

Johnson is a player who could start at the CB position on Day 1. While he's not as athletically gifted as UConn CB Byron Jones, he still offers a lot of athleticism for the position. He tested very well in the agility and explosion drills at the combine, which can be seen on film when he breaks for the ball. Johnson is very aggressive in coverage and will gamble at times, which could leave open windows that QBs as good as Tom Brady could exploit. The Patriots do have the right guy to mitigate that in Devin McCourty, who can cover a lot of ground at the safety position. The only measurable that keeps Johnson off my first round board is the last 20 yards of the 40, which clocks in a 1.89.  That's not good, but it's an improvement over Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard, and Brandon Browner, who were in the 1.9 range.

So how does Johnson fit in both the short term and the long term? In 2015, he's not likely to earn a starting CB job over Dennard, Butler, or Arrington, so he would have to be able to contribute on special teams as a gunner. That should not be an issue for him since he played the gunner role in college, even as recently as the previous college season. After 2015 and Dennard becomes a free agent, I believe he would take the 2nd starting corner job on the outside across from either Kyle Arrington or Malcolm Butler. All the CBs on the roster become free agents after the 2016, with Butler becoming a restricted free agent and the others becoming unrestricted free agents. With four CBs going into free agency the next two seasons, it may take more than 1 year to build up depth. It could be the case of taking one early and one late this year and taking another one next year.

So the question begs, "Why the visit?". It could mean the Patriots are genuinely interested or they want to get information about a teammate or opponent. There aren't any other meaningful prospects from Wake Forest, so that could mean Belichick is interested in a Florida State or Clemson product. One name that comes to mind is FSU WR Rashad Greene, whom Johnson battled against in 2014. Sometimes the greatest complements and most sincere scouting reports can come from the guy who lined up against him. Greene is a tough and smart WR who made the tough catches to extend drives for Florida State in their undefeated regular season. Greene could be a player who the Patriots stash in Year 1 and then have him take over the #3 WR role when Danny Amendola becomes a cap casualty next season.


Vs. Florida State

Vs. Clemson

In other news, the Patriots have also worked out Oklahoma CB Julian Wilson.