Could safety John Johnson be the difference maker that the Las Vegas Raiders desperately need in their defensive backfield?
A third-round selection by the Los Angeles Rams back in 2017, Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent. Much like the Raiders, the Rams will need to restructure themselves financially. This means Johnson might not return but Las Vegas surely won’t be the only organization calling for Johnson’s services. Former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, now the Los Angeles Chargers head coach, could be another suitor.
Last year, Johnson had his best season in the NFL as the Rams’ defensive leader and on-field play-caller. Given how atrocious the Raiders’ pass defense has been, you’d think Johnson would be a priority. The Silver and Black desperately need leadership, coverage skills, and awareness in their backfield. Johnson checks off those boxes and we as all know, the Raiders will be in the market for a safety whether it’s via free agency or the NFL draft.
What could Johnson bring to the Raiders?
Pairing Johnson with Johnathan Abram could give the Raiders a formidable duo at safety. The six-foot and 209-pound Boston College product had a career year leading the Rams defense. The unit was among the NFL’s best at defending the pass, giving up only 17 touchdowns and 3,051 passing yards. Los Angeles was ranked first in both of those categories with Johnson leading the defense.
Pro Football Focus grades Johnson’s coverage skills at 85.9 and 83.9 in defending the run for 2020. In addition, Johnson was targeted 68 times in pass coverage last year and surrendered 47 completions with zero touchdowns. Depending on how the Raiders’ salary cap looks like these coming weeks, Johnson should be on the list of targets.
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