04/29/2012 - A closer look at the Cowboys' picks: Round 4/135 - Matt Johnson, FS, 6-2, 220, Eastern Washington...With 17 career interceptions, Johnson has nice ball skills. He can come down hill and tackle as well as play center field. Look for him to come in and make his initial impact on special teams. - The Sports Xchange
Matt Johnson isn't a household name, but the family could be making a significant impact on the NFL over the next few years. Matt's twin brother, Zach Johnson, has another year of eligibility remaining after a season-ending knee injury in 2011 and is also consider a solid pro prospect.
Matt Johnson was a late-riser leading up to the draft as a strong safety prospect in a weak safety class. He played in 45 games for Eastern Washington and was an All-American at the FCS level, but missed most of his senior season after suffering a left biceps tendon injury while playing special teams Sept. 10. He gutted through the pain for five games before being sidelined for the remained of the season.
Johnson wasn't invited to the scouting combine, but made personal visits to several NFL teams after a strong showing at his March 7 pro day that included a blistering 4.52-second 40-yard dash, a 38-inch vertical jump and a 10'1" broad jump. He also showed excellent athleticism with a 4.07 short shuttle and a 6.84 3-cone drills.
"I put up numbers close to where I want to be," Johnson told the Olympian. "I feel so healthy."
Johnson left Eastern Washington with 341 career tackles and is second in school history with 17 interceptions with 219 return yards.
He spent most of January and February training in Orlando so he could prove to scouts he was fully healthy before the draft.
Strengths: Plays with a linebacker mentality and toughness. Takes sharp angles to the play and stays smart. Strong football intangibles with leadership qualities and top work ethic. Good straight-line speed and plays decisive. Opportunistic with good ballskills, doing a nice job tracking and attacking. Arrives to the ballcarrier with bad intentions and looks to separate ball from player. Good experience as a four-year starter and team captain.
Weaknesses: Plays tight-hipped and struggles to turn and run downfield. Needs to do a better job breaking down in space, has some bad tackling habits. Lacks quick change of direction skills to recover after false steps. Tends to get too physical in coverage. Some durability concerns after missing season-ending shoulder injury last year. Played at the FCS-level and will have to adjust to the jump in play-speed in the NFL.