If you listened to our special live NPC Radio broadcast tonight, you may have heard me bring up a name that you were unfamiliar with, CB Trumaine Johnson of the Montana Grizzlies.
I am a firm believer in the Steelers need for a cornerback who has a size advantage over most of the #2 wide receivers in the AFC, and Johnson fits that bill. At 6 foot 2, 204 lbs. of shredded granite, Johnson is an incredible athlete who would be a top 10 pick in the 2012 Draft had he played at Alabama or LSU. Of course, he played at Montana – a member of the Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision – formerly known as Division I-AA. Playing in the Big Sky Conference against such powerhouse teams as Eastern Washington, Idaho State, and Northern Arizona isn’t an easy way to get noticed by NFL scouts. Johnson, a two-time FCS All American (2010,2011), will probably be picked sometime on Friday during the second round of the draft. The Steelers, in their quest to find the next great Steelers cornerback, should be looking for a way to nab Johnson in the second round if he is available when they pick at #56 overall. Mock Drafts on ESPN.com and NFL.com have him going early in the second round, but with the uncertainty that is hovering around where the top-five CB prospects will land, it is possible that Johnson could be available when the Steelers pick at #56.
The numbers don’t lie. Johnson has a 33 1/4 inch reach, a 35.5 inch vertical leap, quickly put up 19 reps of 225 lbs. and ran a 4.61 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Now, that last number could be deceiving, since most teams like their cornerbacks to run in the 4.4-4.5 range – but most cornerbacks do not have the sheer size that Trumaine Johnson has. A 4.61 40-yard dash is adequate for his size and strength, and once he is in pads laying hits on AFC North receivers, nobody will remember what he ran in the 40-yard dash.
From what we have read in mock drafts posted within the past 48 hours, Johnson will be gone to either Carolina, New England, or even Cincinnati before the Steelers have a chance to take him. His value is not such that a team would take him higher than the second round, simply because there will be more polished, big school players available at that point. If he does fall past Carolina at #40, I believe the Steelers should make a play to trade up a few slots and add this future star to their team.
Follow Jeff Snedden on Twitter @jeffsnedden
Follow Jeff Snedden on Facebook
Follow Nice Pick, Cowher on Twitter @nicepickcowherC
Be sure to get the best Steelers coverage year-round here at Nice Pick, Cowher.
Don’t forget to check out NPC all week long as we delve into the 2012 NFL Draft from the Black and Gold colored glasses starting tomorrow.