NAME: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 207 lbs
Change of Direction/Hip Fluidity: Redirecting skills are exceptional. Explodes forward out of his back pedal to close on passes or pursue ball carriers. Hips are very fluid as well. Turn and run process is smooth and doesn’t waste a lot movement. Shown the ability to make multiple hip transitions in a single rep. Definitely one of his best traits.
Tackling: Is aggressive when pursuing but needs improves as a tackler. Tends leave his feet and target the ankles of his opponents. Misses tackles because of the this. Obviously not going to be thumper, but like to see him use better form. Takes good angles to the ball but just needs to finish more. Has the ability to lay the wood just not many instances of him doing so.
Instincts: Working from the slot gave him the advantage of having a clear view of the backfield. So it was very easy for him to “see ball get ball.” If he plays more of a traditional safety role in the NFL, his instincts against the run would be a bit of a question mark. His route diagnosing skills are still a work in progress. Can click close with simple stuff like screens and swing passes. However, doesn’t process route concepts down he field as efficiently. Will get fooled by play fakes or have lapses where his eyes are back field, causing him to blow a coverage. Shows flashes of identifying more complex route concepts (Michigan game) but needs to improve overall.
Range: Range isn’t elite but still very good. Shows the ability to run side line to side line and cover large chunks of the field. Didn’t play a ton of single high at Florida but has the physical ability to do so. Range will be enhanced once he starts to process route patterns quicker.
Man Coverage: Possesses all of the athletic traits to cover receivers at a high level. Yet, he needs to improve technically. Mirror and match ability is functional but he tends to get fooled by intricate releases. Needs to do a better job at reading steps. Also was never in press, so he has little to no experience with this technique. Teams will have to understand that there will be a learning curve for him.
Ball Skills: Hard to gauge because he didn’t play a traditional safety role. However, made plays on the ball against underneath/in breaking routes. I did notice that he was regularly late to turn his head and find the football vertically when in man coverage. Overall, ball skills are solid but not a ball hawk by any means.
Competitive Toughness: Fiery player that loves to compete. Creates a contagious jolt of energy when he or his teammates make a play. Also likes to get chirpy with his opponents. Isn’t overly physical as a tackler or run defender. But he isn’t soft either.
Best Trait: Athleticism
Worst Trait: Instincts
Best Film: Michigan (2018)
Worst Film: The Entire 2017 Season
Chauncey Gardner Johnson is a versatile defensive back that wore many hats for Florida’s defense. The role that he seemed most effective at was nickel corner, but shouldn’t be solely limited to that role in the NFL. He has the the athletic traits to play any position in the defensive back field, it just depends on what he picks up the fastest. Developing as a Single High Free Safety or Boundary Corner would be ideal in terms of positional value, but teams will have to gauge that out for themselves. Regardless, Johnson should make an instant impact where ever he plays. If he continues to improve his coverage technique and processing skills he could be pro bowl caliber player by year 3.
- Ledyard, Jon. “2019 NFL Draft Player Profile: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.” The Draft Network, 16 Feb. 2019, thedraftnetwork.com/2019/02/16/2019-nfl-draft-player-profile-chauncey-gardner-johnson/.