I Think Jaylon Johnson is Ready to Take Over CB1 Responsibilities

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I Think Jaylon Johnson is Ready to Take Over CB1 Responsibilities

Chicago Bears

Trying to determine just how the 2021 Bears secondary will shake out without Kyle Fuller feels like a daunting task.

Fuller was equally parts dependable and successful in his role as Chicago’s top cornerback. Even when he wasn’t playing at an All-Pro level, like 2018, Fuller’s coverage skills and willingness to get his nose dirty with a tackle made him a tough cookie to crack for opposing quarterbacks. But without Fuller, who left Chicago for Denver after being released as a salary cap casualty, there are real questions about how things will look in the defensive backfield.

Maybe Jaylon Johnson’s emergence will quiet some of those concerns.

And perhaps seeing Johnson sharing space with some top-tier cornerbacks in this particular metric will help:

https://twitter.com/NextGenStats/status/1396904141973164032

Ball Hawk Rate is a metric that’s new to me, but I like the gist of it. The NFL Next Generation Stat calculates the percentage of targets where the nearest defender makes a play on the ball that results in a pass defended or incompletion. And in the case of Johnson, this happened 21.1 percent of the time. Johnson is in impressive company, no doubt. But what might be most impressive is that he’s the only top-5 player in this bunch who didn’t come up with an interception last year.

In other words, for someone who didn’t come away with any interceptions, Johnson was really putting in work last year.

Now, imagine how things could look if Johnson can come up with a pick every now and again. SCHWING!

Johnson put together a solid rookie season. His 15 pass breakups in 13 games were 7 more than Fuller had last year. And to think, Johnson missed three games due to a shoulder injury. Moreover, PFF had Johnson with 14 forced incompletions — the most among all rookies.  All in all, Johnson’s rookie campaign represents a strong foundation from which to build from.

In the end, Johnson cracking the top-5 and rubbing elbows with standout corners is a good thing. Being on a list with Denzel Ward, Xavien Howard, and James Bradberry speaks volumes for Johnson’s performance. Each of the corners on this list has top billing for their respective team. Which suggests to me that Johnson is just about ready to take over those CB1 responsibilities.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.