The Jacksonville Jaguars’ second pick of the fifth round, and seventh overall selection of the 2023 NFL Draft is Texas A&M safety Antonio Johnson (No. 160 overall).
Johnson ranked 64th (2nd round) in expert big boards and 61st (early 3rd round) in public big boards.
An All-SEC second-team selection and Pro Football Focus All-American selection in 2022, Johnson recorded 71 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, one pass defended and three fumbles forced in nine games as a junior.
In 28 career games with the Aggies, Johnson had 164 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, two sacks, eight passes defended, four forced fumbles and one interception.
With the 160th pick in the 2023 #NFLDraft, we select Texas A&M S Antonio Johnson!@Antonio_johns0n | @Dream_Finders pic.twitter.com/aLcq8VcOpl— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) April 29, 2023
- Prospect name: Antonio Johnson
- Hometown: East St. Louis, Illinois
- Position: Safety
- School: Texas A&M
- Year: Junior
- Age at draft: 21.5
- Height: 6’ 2” (86%)
- Weight: 198 lbs (18%)
- Hand Size: 9 3/4” (80%)
- Arm Length: 32 1/8” (68%)
Percentiles via MockDraftable
Antonio Johnson was drafted with pick 160 of round 5 in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 4.78 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 510 out of 976 FS from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/Ig9qwWg7H5 pic.twitter.com/UvVnkcrjd2— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 29, 2023
Scouting report from Shaun Wade of Bleacher Report:
Antonio Johnson is a defensive back with outstanding length and size for the position. He is a versatile athlete who is used in multiple ways for the Texas A&M defense. He has the ability to play from both zone and man, while also playing over the slot, as a big nickel and as a deep safety. When lined over the slot he does a good job of getting his hands on and disrupting routes; though he struggles with a change of direction and covering shiftier players. Johnson is a long strider with average twitch and needs a couple of steps to get going. When in zone coverage he has the tendency to lose track of threats in his area but when in phase shows the ball skills and timing to play through receivers. As a run defender, he shows to be a tough player who will show up in the run game.
Player summary from Dane Brugler of The Athletic:
A two-year starter at Texas A&M, Johnson was a nickel defensive back in defensive coordinator DJ Durkin’s cover-3/cover-4 match scheme, playing multiple safety alignments. He was primarily a box and short-area defender for the Aggies and led the team in tackles per game (7.9) in 2022 (missed three games, and it was obvious when he was and was not on the field). A physical presence in the running game, Johnson has intriguing versatility with his body length and pursuit range and looks to tune up his target working downhill. He matches up well versus tight ends, but he will struggle to stay connected with NFL slots.
Overall, Johnson has undisciplined tendencies and is still getting his body organized technically, but he is at his best near the line of scrimmage with his zone instincts and eagerness to drop the hammer in the run game. His play style is reminiscent of Jamal Adams (albeit in a different body type).
Last word from Kendall Mirsky of Sports Info Solutions:
Johnson projects best as a three-down starting-level strong safety on a team that utilizes 1-high safety looks, thus enabling Johnson to play closer to the line of scrimmage on occasion. On 3rd downs, Johnson would be best used closer to the line of scrimmage either in the box or as a Nickel corner. Although Johnson doesn’t have great speed or range, his physicality and tackling ability indicates potential on special teams.
Prospect overview from Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:
Big, athletic safety with versatility to line up over the slot or inside the box for additional run support. Johnson has a strong passion for sticking his nose into whatever is going on near the line of scrimmage. He’s constantly flowing downhill to meet the play as close to the line of scrimmage as possible, but he needs to regulate his pace and angles to prevent overflowing and poor tackle balance. Johnson can be overmatched at the top of the route by top-end receivers, but he’s capable of staying with pass-catching tight ends or a receiver with average speed. Johnson is positioned to become a good starter whose best ball will be played near the line of scrimmage.