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When Houston selected Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson with the 16th pick of the 2015 draft, some eyebrows were raised. Most Texans fans, including myself, expected Houston to take a wide receiver to fill the vacancy left by Andre Johnson. On top of that, many had never heard of Kevin Johnson, let alone seen him play.
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Johnson finished his Wake Forest career with 189 tackles and seven interceptions. Entering the draft, Johnson was thought to be one of the more complete corners. However, there were some doubts about his lanky frame. He clearly wasn’t given enough credit, despite starting 41 games for the Demon Deacons. At his pro day Johnson posted a 4.43 forty and a 41.5-inch vertical leap. There was little question about his athleticism.
Playing cornerback in the NFL as a rookie is no easy task. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most difficult positions on the field. That being said, Johnson came in and showed no fear from day one. He was forced into duty when starter Kareem Jackson went down with an injury. Johnson came in and went toe to toe with some of the top receivers in the league.
There were some bumps in the road, but Johnson acquitted himself very well. He finished the season with 54 tackles, one interception, and nine passes defensed. Johnson became a fixture in Houston’s secondary, and was a player on whom Romeo Crennel could count. What we found out later is that Johnson played eight games with a Jones fracture in his left foot. He then broke his wrist in Houston’s final regular season game.
It’s been a challenging offseason for Johnson, he underwent surgery on both his foot and his wrist. When asked about his offseason, Johnson had this to say, “Just working, coming in to work every day, getting better, feeling good, so I’m excited.” Not only has he been working hard to come back from injuries, Johnson has been in the weight room adding some bulk to his frame.
Texans coaches are excited about what Johnson brings to the defense. He is tough, hard-nosed, and plays with great instincts. Judging by Johnson’s performance as a rookie, we can only expect that he will continue to get better. Look for Johnson to be a highly impactful corner for Houston in 2016.
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