INDIANAPOLIS—Those teams looking for a big, durable and self-assured cornerback who’s comfortable playing in any kind of weather, will no doubt be interested in Montana’s Trumaine Johnson.
“Playing in Montana, I’ve played in every weather. I’ll play anywhere,” Johnson said.
Johnson, 6-2, 205, played in snowy conditions for the Grizzlies, and, of course, it snows in Green Bay, and consensus opinion is that the Packers would be in the market for a young addition to their secondary. To that end, NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks, himself a former Packers defensive back, said in a packers.com video on Thursday that Johnson is a prospect that would translate well for the Packers’ needs and wants.
“I believe I’m a true shutdown corner,” Johnson told reporters at the scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
Tuesday will be an important day for Johnson and defensive back prospects. It’s the day they’ll work out for scouts. Are they fast? Can they flip their hips? Johnson answered yes to both questions but, of course, the proof will be in his performance on Tuesday.
Johnson is projected as a second/third-round prospect, but that’s not indicative of his production. If he had played at, say, Alabama, instead of Montana, and if his 40 time was expected to be faster than the 4.5 that’s estimated for him, Johnson might be a prospect for the first round.
“I can’t do anything about that now,” Johnson said when asked about playing at a school of lesser profile than the big schools.
“Turn on the tape of Tennessee,” he added, showing a little edge for the question. “Turn that tape on.”
Johnson was recruited by the big schools in the West, including Southern Cal, Cal and Arizona State, but failed to get offers from them. He said he didn’t know why they declined to offer him. He went to Montana, where he was to be a wide receiver.
Almost immediately, he was switched to cornerback and, almost immediately, he was a success. His ability to transition to a new position as quickly and as fully as he did speaks of his athletic ability, and Johnson said he’s capable of making the same switch from cornerback to safety, should his 40 time demand such a move.
“I like to play corner, but I can play safety,” he said. “When I say anything on the field, I mean waterboy, anything you need me to do, I can do it.”
He played the boundary corner position at Montana, “mostly because of run support,” he said. “I like tackling. I like to hit.”
OK, so make that a big, durable, self-assured cornerback that likes to hit, started 46 games at Montana, a FCS powerhouse, and played with a broken arm during a significant stretch of those 46 games. Yeah, impressive, but can he run?
We’ll find out on Tuesday.