Longest NFL.com scouting report I've ever seen.
One of the game's best-kept secrets, at least where the national media is concerned, Johnson has greatly impressed professional scouts that have actually seen him perform. Many will agree that he is one of the most exciting athletes to watch with the ball in his hands, bringing back memories of Michael Vick and Vince Young during their collegiate days.
Johnson brings tremendous energy to the field and is the type defenses must account for on every play. Whether it is unleashing a deep pass, putting zip on his short throws or playing like a whirling dervish running with the ball, the talented quarterback has proven he can strike from anywhere on the field.
Johnson earned first-team All-City, Oakland Chamber of Commerce Prep of the Month and Most Improved Player honors as a senior at Oakland Technical High School. He was also named Most Inspirational his junior year when he could not play due to injury. He threw for 1,900 yards and 22 touchdowns with just two interceptions his senior season, leading his team to the Oakland Athletic League Championship.
The versatile athlete also lettered in basketball and track. He was an honorable mention All-City choice in hoops and finished in the high jump (6'5") at the Oakland Athletic League Championships.
Looking for an opportunity to be part of a rising football program, Johnson turned down scholarship offers from St. Mary's and Idaho State to enroll at San Diego in 2004. That year, he appeared in seven games, playing behind Todd Mortensen. He hit on 12-of-22 passes (54.5%) for 135 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He added 39 yards and a pair of scores on 13 carries (3.0 avg), caught a 3-yard pass and returned a pair of punts for a 1-yard loss.
With Mortensen having graduated, Johnson took over starting duties in 2005, going on to win the first of two Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Year honors. He was a first-team All-American choice by The Sports Network and named Division 1-AA Offensive Back of the Year by the Football Gazette.
Johnson ranked 11th in the nation in pass completions (260-of-371 attempts), setting school season-records for pass completion percentage (70.1), yards passing (3,256) and touchdown passes (36). He finished second nationally with a 171.51 passing efficiency rating and ranked fifth with an average of 302.92 yards per game in total offense. His 3,635 yards in total offense is the second-highest season total in school history.
In 2006, Johnson received consensus All-American and unanimous All-Pioneer Football League first-team recognition. The Division 1-AA Offensive Player of the Year by The NFL Draft Report was also selected the PFL's Offensive Player of the Year. He led the nation with a 169.02 passing efficiency rating, an average of 333.67 yards per game in total offense, 3,320 yards passing and 24.33 points per game that he was responsible for.
Johnson connected on 246-of-371 passes (66.3%) with 34 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He picked up 720 yards with 11 scores on 107 carries (6.7 avg) and caught two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown. He participated in 478 plays, as his 4,040 yards in total offense rank 15th on the NCAA FCS/1-AA season-record list.
Johnson earned the team's MVP award following the 2007 season. He finished third in the Walter Payton Award voting while throwing a school-record 43 touchdown passes. He led the nation in total offense, passing efficiency and points responsible for.
Johnson finished his career as the NCAA's all-time leader in passing efficiency at 176.7.
Positives: Has a lean, angular frame that needs to add more bulk, but shows no loss in quickness after increasing his weight by 10 pounds from his junior to senior seasons... Has a tight abdomen, toned thighs and calves, adequate arm length and minimal body fat...Quick, mobile scrambler with above average balance and body control to make all the throws when on the move...Possesses that second gear needed to elude when rushing past the line of scrimmage and the vision to locate the cutback lanes... Very smooth in his retreat from center to his throwing point, demonstrating the slide-and-adjust agility to step up in the pocket or roll out to avoid pressure...Shows very good knee bend and the ability to weave through traffic, making a good effort to provide ball security before heading up field...Capable of handling the mental aspect of the game, as he makes all of the required reads and checks to excel in a pass-oriented offense...Won't hesitate to square his shoulders and drive his legs to gain tough yardage up the middle rather than passively head to the sidelines to avoid any contact...Doesn't force the ball into traffic and can keep defenses honest with his long-range arm strength or ability to weave in and out of traffic as a ball carrier...With his body control, agility and hip flexibility, he is quick driving back from center, doing a nice job of setting his feet in either 3-step or 5-step drops...Gets to his throwing point fluidly and has the balance to make all the throws on the run...Nimble and agile rolling out of the pocket and has the balance to step up and avoid pocket pressure...While patient waiting for the plays to develop, he is not the type who will hold on to the ball too long and then try to force the action to make the play, as he knows when he needs to throw the ball away...Demonstrates the compact delivery and throwing motion, along with the wrist flick, to get the ball out cleanly and quickly. He has a compact motion, holding the ball chest-high to execute a fluid three-quarter release...Seems more comfortable airing the ball out, rather than playing dink-and-dunk with a short-area passing game (accuracy is a bit off on screens, wheel routes)...Effective at throwing ropes 40 yards downfield with ease...Accurate throwing from the pocket and has the balance to also make those throws on the move...Consistent setting his feet and shows good mechanics delivering the ball on time...Likes to air the ball out more than stay underneath, as he knows how to get the ball to his targets in stride rather than have them wait or come back for it...Keeps his cool under pressure and knows that when all else fails, he has the feet to step up and avoid the pocket pressure...Stands tough under duress and shows confidence in his ability to execute the play...Patient waiting for plays to develop and does a very good job with ball security...Vocal on the field, demonstrating a little bit of Brett Favre with his bravado...Capable of getting big yardage with his feet and is a dangerous threat running with the ball...As a ballcarrier, he shows good strength and body lean to gain additional yardage after the initial hit and is conscious of protecting the ball and shielding it from the defenders...Builds to top acceleration nicely and is alert to coverages (won't run into spots too often)...Knows how to get the ball to his deep targets over their outside shoulder without the receiver having to adjust.
Negatives: Needs to add more bulk and has just adequate height for a drop-back position, but does a good job of scanning the field and his mobility could be an asset in a spread offense...Must work on his timing a bit (needs to take a bit off those tosses to make it easier for the receiver to secure without having to adjust), but has the vision to scan the field and make good progression reads...Gets the ball through the throwing arc well and has a lively arm, but needs to learn how to vary his speed at times (puts too much zip on his short throws)...Has good arm strength, but when he fails to set his feet properly, his throws will wobble...Has not faced as many complex defenses as he will experience in the NFL, but he shows good anticipation and timing making all of his throws.
Compares To: RANDALL CUNNINGHAM-ex-Philadelphia (1986-95), Minnesota (97-99), Dallas (2000), Baltimore (2001)...Like Cunningham, Johnson's athletic ability separates him from the rest of this quarterback crop. He is not as big or strong as Randall, but has the same body control, balance and scrambling ability that forces defenses to account for not only his arm, but also his feet. He will need to add more bulk to compete at the next level, but with his developing arm strength and excellent vision, he would be an ideal fit for a West Coast/spread offense.