College: Weber State
Position: Defensive back
College Stats: Three-year starter, two-time All-Big Sky selection, unanimous FCS First Team All-American and Big Sky Defensive MVP in 2017
It didn’t take long for Weber State to realize that all Taron Johnson needed was a position change in order to be a star. Johnson was a standout wide receiver at Sheldon High School in Sacramento and finished his senior year ranked 13th in the state in receiving yards.
Despite those numbers, Johnson was not highly recruited out of high school, so he headed to Utah to prove the doubters wrong. Once he got to Ogden, the coaches quickly realized that he would make a much better defensive back and that allowed him to shine.
Johnson made an impact as a true freshman, playing in all 12 games, and became a full-time starter as a sophomore in 2015. From there, he continued to improve, becoming a lockdown corner as an upperclassman. He was one of the top defensive backs as both a junior and a senior, and he almost led the Wildcats to an upset win over James Madison in the FCS Quarterfinals.
Few defensive backs were as good as Johnson was in press coverage. More often than not, if he got his hands on a receiver, he was going to rub him off of his route and cause problems for a quarterback looking in that direction. He is very physical and isn’t afraid to try to make a play on the ball.
Unlike other cornerbacks his size, Johnson is pretty good at coming up to stop the run. He was able to make the play on a number of running plays at Weber State, cutting in to stop the running back and he wasn’t hesitant to take on blockers either.
His physical play could get him in trouble at the next level. FCS referees are more likely to let defensive backs get physical than their NFL colleagues, and he might see a lot of yellow as a rookie.
Johnson is not as fast as NFL teams would like either, and he can get beat deep. He will need to work on that once he is on a roster.
Right now, most people know Taron Johnson for this:
Ouch. Weber State CB Taron Johnson looked the wrong way during the gauntlet and got hit on the head. pic.twitter.com/zybqU7oywm— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) March 5, 2018
Johnson should go sometime in day three of the NFL Draft and will likely make it onto a roster as a rookie. He might find a niche on special teams because of his physicality, and he could make an impact in a nickel or dime set.