I really like Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson. Johnson has a pretty good combination of size, speed, and arm strength, that gives him a pretty high ceiling at the NFL. Johnson has a nice combination excellent arm strength, good power as a runner, pretty impressive size and speed ratio, and good numbers that could make him a starter at the NFL level. Any player with a combination of a strong work ethic and good physical tools always entices me, and Johnson is no exception. Johnson is built a lot like a tight end, and he seems to know his team's plays very well, helping him make smart yet deceptive decisions with the football. Johnson also has the ability to put excellent zip on his passes, he is very productive as a rusher, and he rarely throws interceptions.
There are some downsides to his game, though. Johnson's footwork is extremely inconsistent. Unlike Jake Locker, Johnson is human; his throws are less accurate when his footwork is poor. When his feet are set, his accuracy is pretty solid, especially throwing outside of the hash marks.
When under pressure, Johnson is somewhat reckless with the football. He rushes his throws before he sets his feet in many blitz packages, and before he can make a good read with the football he gets the ball out of his hands and into the hands of the first receiver he sees. Also, when I say he is poor under pressure, I don't just mean heavy blitz packages; I mean late in the game he has a tendency to falter and throw an interception. He doesn't real seem to have natural ability to perform in the clutch, but he is still an adequate leader at the quarterback position due to his strong work ethic.
Johnson has a tendency to lock onto receivers when making reads, so defensive backs can tell what he is doing pretty easily. Johnson puts enough zip on his passes that the defensive backs at the college level can't read-and-react quickly enough to get too many interceptions, but he will have to improve upon that tendency to fool the quicker defensive backs at the next level.
Johnson has below average throwing mechanics. His delivery isn't all to long, but he keeps the ball pretty far away from his head while he releases it, almost like a baseball pitcher in his delivery. By keeping the ball far from his head-area, defensive ends don't have much issue knocking the ball down before he releases it, resulting in a bunch of fumbles. This is a pretty little kink in his delivery; it isn't really a major issue.
Johnson inexplicably faltered horribly this season. He was an insane decision maker, he wasn't accurate, and he ended up getting benched mid season for Ryan Tannehill. Though he was very productive in 09' throwing 30 touchdowns and interceptions, it shockingly took him about half the season to worsen that mark (9 interceptions in 2010) this year. He was horribly disappointing.
Here are some looks of Johnson in action:
Overall, not only does Johnson possess pretty solid upside, but pretty fixable downside. No matter how much he struggled this season, I can't help but keep on thinking of Jason Campbell when I think of Johnson from last year. No matter what anybody says, I always believed that Campbell was, at the minimum, an average NFL starting quarterback, consistently putting a quarterback rating in the 80-87 range, which is respectable, while adding above average mobility, good durability, and the fact that he had this solid success on teams with pretty limited supporting casts. And, no matter how bad Johnson played this season, I don't see any reason why he can't revert to that 09' Campbell form.
NFL Comparison: Campbell.