More on QB Jerrod Johnson

by Tommy Lawlor  –

Yesterday I posted a note about QB Jerrod Johnson of Texas A&M (mistakenly called him Jarrett).   Let’s talk a bit more in-depth about him.  Johnson is big at 6’5, 240.  He’s a good, not great, athlete.  Don’t expect him to do Vince Young stuff and run through defenses and just have defenders fall in his wake.  Johnson will make his share of guys miss and he will do some impressive things, but he isn’t a dynamic runner.

He is a good college QB.  This shows up in numbers and on film.  In the last 2 seasons Jerrod has thrown 51 total TDs against only 18 INTs.  And he’s not just a dink ‘n dunk guy.  Is Johnson NFL ready?  No, not close.  He does need work.  He’s typical of college QBs in many ways.  Jerrod needs work on his footwork and mechanics.  He throws a lot of his passes from the shotgun.  That means he’s not taking standard drops.  He drifts in the pocket as he looks for a receiver.  Jerrod has a solid arm.  He can be accurate.  He does have a wind-up motion.  That will need some tweaking.  He needs to hold the ball up by his ear so that he can get a quicker release in the NFL.  Johnson puts good touch on his deep balls.  He has solid downfield accuracy.  Like most young QBs, Johnson wants to throw to wide open guys.  He rarely anticipates receivers coming open.  He throws to them when they are open.  That’s great in college, but won’t work at the next level.  He’s almost reactive as a passer.  Find the open guy and get him the ball.  True pass progressions need to be read in a precise manner and timely fashion.

Johnson is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but hopefully that won’t affect him too much this year.  2010 will be Jerrod’s 3rd year as the starting QB.  That is good experience, something that scouts and coaches like.  His coach at A&M is Mike Sherman, who ran the Packers for several years and also coached with the Texans.  He knows the NFL and good offenses.  Mike and his staff seem to have done a pretty good job with Jerrod.  This is the key year.  You want all the pieces to come together.  Johnson has the size, skill, athleticism, and experience to not just be good in college, but to be a quality pro prospect.

I’m not sure what Johnson’s ceiling is.  There are times when I see hints of Vince Young or Donovan McNabb.  Jerrod is able to make plays with his feet.  He can throw on the run.  He seems pretty smart and shows good instincts.  There are also times when he looks like star college QB #655321.  Let’s face it, there are star players every year that have little chance at playing in the NFL. One thing that Johnson needs to do is win a big game (OU, Texas, bowl game, etc.).  His biggest win so far came last season at Texas Tech.  Johnson did play brilliantly in the game vs Texas (accounting for 439 yards and 4 TDs), but the Aggies still lost.

Right now I think of Johnson as a mid-round target.  His Senior season will have a lot to say about whether that rating goes up or down.  He won’t go super early, but improved play (more polish) could push him into the 2nd round.  Should he have lingering shoulder injuries that notion goes right out the window.

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