The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Antonio Johnson with the 160th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He will likely spend his rookie season behind Rayshawn Jenkins and Andre Cisco, but at least adds much needed depth at the position.
The 2023 NFL Draft arrives from Union Station in Kansas City this month as the next generation of football players learn where their professional careers are set to begin. The defense should be top of mind for a majority of teams this year. Texas A&M safety Antonio Johnson could make an instant impact in his rookie year.
The junior out of East St. Louis appeared in 25 games for the Aggies, recording 164 total tackles (14 for loss) with two sacks and one interception in three seasons at College Station. The former four-star recruit received the team’s Defensive Playmaker Award in the 2021 season after recording 79 tackles, 8.5 for loss with one sack, one interception, and five pass breakups. Despite missing three games due to injury in 2022, Johnson was named first-team All-SEC after leading the Aggies with three forced fumbles.
Antonio Johnson: Scouting Report
Johnson enters the draft as a big, athletic safety with gifted speed at his position. Although he felt he left some on the table with a 4.52 40-yard dash at the combine, he made up for it at Texas A&M’s Pro Day with a 4.4 recorded time. At 6’2” and 198 lbs with a 32 1/8” wingspan, Johnson’s size and physicality make him best suited to play physically at the line of scrimmage, setting him up to benefit from man-to-man coverage.
While very much capable of guarding opposing tight ends and receivers with average speed, opposing wideouts that are faster are liable to beat him over the top. He tends to leave a bit too much space when playing off-man, and he could stand to improve as a tackler when coming in from deep. As it stands currently, he’s best suited as a box safety or a big nickel.
NFL.com has him graded at 6.34 for a prospect, which correlates to an eventual plus starter with a Next Gen stat grade of 79 (good). NFL analyst Lance Zierlein recommends Kyle Dugger as an appropriate NFL comparison to the Aggie product.
Mock Draft landing spots
Johnson looks like a Day 2 pick, with mock drafts placing him in the second and third rounds. CBS’ Ryan Palmer has the Steelers taking Johnson in the second, and NFL.com’s Chad Reuter has the Eagles taking Johnson in Round 2. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler sees him heading to the Packers in Round 3, and ESPN’s Matt Miller sees him going to the Cardinals in the third.