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NFL Draft: Scouting Report for Jovon Johnson

Ohio's Jovon Johnson has a chance to make a roster as a special teams player.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Jovon Johnson's best attribute as he heads to the pros may be his motor. It's not a sexy attribute and it's hard to quantify with data. But when you watch Johnson play, it's what stands out the most.

Take this play from December's Camellia Bowl for instance. Johnson could have just tackled Appalachian State's Ike Lewis and called it a day. But instead, he saw an opportunity to rip the ball from Lewis' hands and he took it all the back to the end zone for a touchdown.

For Johnson, this type of play - which showcases an ability to create turnovers by sheer will - gives him a chance to make it at the next level. Johnson's probably not going to get drafted - at 6'0", 215 pounds, Johnson isn't a big linebacker even by college standards - but there's a chance he could make an impact on special teams at the next level. It might take a few stints on different practice squads for him to find a home, but the potential is there.

Johnson's career in Athens saw him develop into a consistent performer on Jimmy Burrow's defense. He missed four games last season due to injury, but he still racked up 40 tackles, 1.5 sacks and three interceptions as a senior. In his last year, Johnson was a big reason why Burrow, Ohio's defensive coordinator, rarely elected to use nickel packages on defense. His lateral quickness and ability to switch directions allowed him to defend quicker players in space and also allowed to play him, Quentin Poling and Blair Brown together as much as possible. It worked, too,as Ohio's defense finished fifth in total defense last year. The only team to really make Johnson looked bad in the passing game last was Bowling Green. And the Falcons, led by quarterback Matt Johnson, made just about everyone looked bad next season.

The interesting thing for Johnson will be if teams view him as linebacker or if even a single team thinks he could move back to strong safety. He's not especially fast in the 40-yard dash, but he's quick in 10-yard spurts and when changing direction. He's also adept in space and the Bobcats last year often deployed him in coverage on slot receivers. If he proves to be quick enough and can handle the coverage aspect of playing strong safety, perhaps he can move back to the secondary at the next level. It wouldn't be a seamless move - Johnson played strongside linebacker for the Bobcats - but it's one he might be able to make. It also might help his chances of sticking at the next level.

But at the end of the day, it all comes back to his motor. Johnson isn't listed on any draft boards and it'd be surprise to see him drafted. If he gets invited to training camp, it'll be as a special teams player and he'll spend July and August running down the field at full speed trying to crack into opposing returners.

It's not an easy gig, or a particularly glamorous one. But if how hard he plays is any indication, Johnson's got a chance to play in the NFL and make his mark on special teams.