Unless you followed the Kentucky Wildcats throughout their 2018 campaign, it’s most likely that corner back Lonnie Johnson wasn’t on your radar heading into the 2018 Senior Bowl.
However, following a strong performance, the senior suddenly saw his name surge in multiple mock drafts. And with the aid of stout performances at both the NFL combine and UK’s pro day, Johnson’s stock was riding high heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.
That culminated with Johnson hearing his name called in the second round by the Houston Texans at pick No. 54 overall.
Some projections had Johnson going in Round 1, but he ultimately fell to the latter part of Round 2, but he still landed in a great situation. The Texans are coming off an 11-5 season and return much of their core roster. He has a great opportunity to be part of a winning team early and often in Houston.
Measuring at 6-3, 206 pounds, Johnson is the prototypical cornerback who can line up with the NFL’s longer/taller receivers. A 40-yard dash time of 4.39 also boasts his unique speed at that size to stay step-for-step with wideouts such as AJ Green and Julio Jones.
The cornerback-needy Texans will most certainly expect that type of production from Johnson, especially after spending such an early selection on the former Wildcat.
During his Kentucky tenure, Johnson played 22 games and intercepted one pass. However, he and fellow Wildcat Derrick Baity were one of the better 1-2 cornerback duos in the country and anchored a top-tier defense in 2018.
Though Baity had better success at the collegiate level, NFL scouts believe Johnson has the upside to surpass his former teammate at the next level. Johnson’s dominating stint in the senior bowl aided that notion, along with his physical attributes.