Weight: 210 lbs
40 Time: 4.48
Cone Drill: 7.03
225′ Reps: 17
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson may be one of the most well-rounded versatile safeties in the draft. His ability to play in the box, in the slot, or as a single high safety is quite impressive. He has the size and athleticism to thrive in any of those roles. He will help eliminate mismatches on tight ends which is a big part of the game in today’s NFL. He takes good efficient angles to attack the ball, and when he arrives he will deliver a boom. Gardner-Johnson likes to hit, and that is easily seen on tape.
Gardner-Johnson does not think twice when arriving at the ball. He hits to separate the ball and the defender. He possess a rare balance between having the toughness and power to help stop the run, and having the agility and hips to play the pass. He has good closing speed and makeup speed. Both gears are very important for a safety if they want to stay on the field in all situations.
Footwork is very important for any defensive back. Gardner-Johnson needs some work on his feet. Footwork for a safety can be different depending on where they are aligned. He needs more repetition in practice and consistency in games. If he corrects his footwork, some of the other technical issues will self correct as well.
Gardner-Johnson will benefit from more film work. He got by a lot in college purely on his athleticism. At times, he can get caught up on underneath routes. He will need more understanding of route concepts which will help with his anticipation. His game as a safety just needs some refining. If he can fix these technical issues and become more of a student of the game, the sky is the limit.
How He Fits
Mike Pettine likes defensive players who can do a lot of different things. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a free safety which fills a hole in itself, but he can really play in any spot. His versatility of being able to line up anywhere really gives Pettine an advantage in his packages. It allows him to disguise packages because he does not have to substitute in certain situations. It really makes a huge difference if the defense can gain an advantage pre-snap.
He also allows Pettine freedom when he is calling certain coverages or blitzes because he does not have to worry about having his safety out of position. Gardner-Johnson also brings the same type of attitude and swag that the other young defensive backs brought with them last year. A young versatile safety with the same mentality would be huge for the future.
2nd – 3rd