Jaylon Johnson is big on respect. He gives plenty to the opponents he faces, but at the same time, he demands it in return. If he feels like somebody isn’t giving it to him, he’ll remind them why it would be in their best interests. It isn’t a coincidence that the third-year cornerback already has stars like Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp singing his praises. They understand how good the Chicago Bears corner is and how much better he can get.
The problem is the rest of the national media aren’t buying into it. There are likely a few reasons for that. Johnson has played on a mediocre team for the past two years, so it is difficult to get noticed. He also only has one interception. Stats are always viewed as a strong indicator of how good a player is. Johnson hasn’t fulfilled that end of the bargain. This might explain why Pro Football Focus ranked him a distant 28th among top NFL cornerbacks going into 2022.
“28. JAYLON JOHNSON, CHICAGO BEARS
Mild panic set in once the media saw Johnson running with the second-team unit during OTAs, but head coach Matt Eberflus said it was nothing to look too much into. Johnson has already shown enough for his ceiling to be a true CB1. Despite snagging just one interception since entering the league in 2020, the 6-foot, 195-pound cornerback ranks eighth in forced incompletion rate (15.3%) since then. If Johnson can reel in his occasional over-aggressiveness, he can significantly climb these rankings.”
New Bears coaches hope to help Jaylon Johnson blossom.
Matt Eberflus arrived as the new head coach with one philosophy above all others. His defense would be focused on turnovers. Every time a running back carries the ball or the quarterback throws it; all 11 defenders are trying like mad to take it away. This newfound emphasis should help Johnson. Up until now, he’s been focused on locking receivers down and minimizing their operating space. He is good at it. Now he will likely start using his talents to play the football more often.
People may not remember that Jaylon Johnson was quite adept at intercepting passes in college. He had six of them over his final two years at Utah. So he is capable of doing it. Perhaps all he needed was a renewed focus on it from his coaching staff. If he can have another solid coverage year and couple it with three or four interceptions, the respect he deserves may finally arrive.