The 10th entry in our post-draft Q&A series focuses on former Texas wide receiver, Collin Johnson. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Johnson in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft (No. 165 overall).
To get a better idea of what Johnson brings to the table for the Jaguars, we spoke to Wescott Eberts, the team site producer for Burnt Orange Nation — SB Nation’s website for everything Texas Longhorns.
So, what should we know about Johnson? Let’s find out:
1. Obviously, Johnson possesses great size, at 6-foot-6, 222 pounds. How did he use his size to his advantage at Texas, and do you expect him to be a red zone threat for the Jaguars (or another NFL team)?
Wescott: Throughout his Texas career, Johnson was excellent at using his size to his advantage, whether it was using man-beater routes to win on slant routes or his ball skills to high point the football and come down with contested catches in the air. So he can play through contact if cornerbacks want to try to get up in his space and press him or simply outjump them. Johnson does profile as a red-zone threat because of his ability to win in the air, but he was also an excellent third-down target — 41 of his 49 catches on third down resulted in conversions, a rate of nearly 84 percent.
2. Outside of size, what traits does Johnson possess that Jaguars fans will like? What areas of his game does he need to improve upon?
Wescott: Johnson was a strong blocker during his time at Texas, so he’s capable of helping to set the edge at the X position, but he’s also a guy who showed significant growth in using a variety of techniques to get his release at the line of scrimmage and flashed some strong route-running ability at times, including at the Senior Bowl. However, there are some areas like getting in and out of his breaks that are difficult for him due to his size. Those limitations may simply be a result of physics. The other major question mark is about his speed — he doesn’t have any testing numbers from high school, didn’t run at the NFL Combine due to injury, and missed his Pro Day because of the coronavirus pandemic.
3. Johnson has dealt with a variety of injuries during his college playing days — hamstring, knee, hip flexor, etc. — and also missed the majority of his senior year of high school with another injury. While he was able to play through some of these, should there be durability concerns regarding Johnson’s professional career?
Wescott: There have never been any questions about toughness with Johnson — he played through the hamstring issue against LSU before the medical staff shut him down for several games. I’m not sure if there should be any durability concerns about him because of those injuries, but there’s no question that he has a lot of surface area for defenders to hit, so that could make him more prone to injuries at the next level.
4. The Jaguars are placing a heavy emphasis on young locker room leaders, and Johnson was a captain for Texas in 2019. What leadership traits does he bring to Jacksonville and would you describe him as a “high-character” guy?
Wescott: Johnson wasn’t the most rah-rah guy on the team, but he was invested in leading by example and in tutoring the younger players. His father, Johnnie, was a two-time All-American at Texas and an All-Pro selection during his 10 years in the NFL, so Johnson was raised with a strong work ethic and understanding of what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of football. He’s the type of guy who isn’t going to self-sabotage his career.
5. Is the fifth round about where you expected to Johnson to go (why or why not) and do you like his chances of making the team and carving out a role in Jacksonville?
Wescott: Given the lack of testing numbers on Johnson, I think the fifth round is about right — had he been able to put up strong testing numbers, I think his upside is somewhere as high as the second round. I do think that he’s capable of making the team and forging an NFL career, whether it’s in Jacksonville or somewhere else, but it will have to be in a role that doesn’t expect a lot of big plays from him — he profiles as more of a possession receiver, but it does say a lot about his ability that teams last year were really worried about him winning one-on-one battles if they didn’t provide safety help over the top.
6. Anything else we should know about Johnson?
Wescott: When Oklahoma decided in the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game that they were going to take away Lil’Jordan Humphrey in the slot and not worry about Johnson, he nearly did enough (by himself) to help Texas win the game — he set a Big 12 Championship Game record with 177 receiving yards on nine catches and also scored a touchdown.
Thank you to Wescott for taking the time to provide insights into Johnson’s career at Texas and for giving an outlook on what to expect from the big wide receiver. Be sure to follow Wescott on Twitter, and for all Texas athletics news, follow Burnt Orange Nation as well.