2019 #54 Houston Texans - Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB, Kentucky
NFL Draft Scout
OUTLOOK: When discussing the top secondaries in college football in 2018, Alabama, LSU and the University of Washington often are cited but with three Wildcats invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl and projected as 2019 NFL draft picks, savvy scouts know better than to look past Kentucky - especially Johnson, a prototypically-built press cornerback who turned down Georgia and West Virginia as a JUCO prospect two years ago to sign with Mark Stoops. Johnson was a highly accomplished prep athlete on the football field and track but academics forced him to Garden City Community College in Kansas. He was an all-conference selection there in 2015, recording 35 tackles and five interceptions, earning the No. 2 overall safety ranking by some recruiting experts. Stoops and the Wildcats viewed him as a cornerback, however, Johnson rewarded their faith, beating out a two-year returning starter in his first fall in Lexington to play in all 13 games, recording 41 tackles, three tackles for loss, five pass breakups and two blocked kicks. Opponents often elected to ignore his side of the field in 2018 and so Johnson's numbers dropped slightly. He registered just 23 tackles and saw his passes defensed slip to four, though he capped his career in fine form, collecting his first (and only) FBS interception in Kentucky's 27-24 win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.