2019 NFL Draft Report: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Name: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Listed Height: 5’11
Listed Weight: 210
Strengths: Gardner-Johnson has a muscular and built up frame while being a plus athlete. He is a versatile defender in the secondary, as he routinely lines up over the slot and can play at FS. He unlocks his hips with adjustment fluidity and easily gets out of his turns with burst after he re-positions his weight. From the slot, he stays connected to shallow-intermediate routes and can carry vertical routes. He reads patterns well from off coverage, and can have a quick response time based off of his sight of the QB or the WR. Catches up with pass catchers when he falls out of phase due to his short area acceleration. His range from the back end is apparent, as he can cover high amounts of ground on the field and has quality ball skills and location ability. Is instinctual in coverage, and has active eyes to scan the field and process spacings in zone. CGJ shows patience versus foot fakes in releases and has the reactionary quickness to transition and match. He is urgent to close on the run and has shown that he can disengage from blocks, even though he is inconsistent doing so.
Weaknesses: Gardner-Johnson is still becoming accustomed to releasing from block engagement and can get controlled by sturdy blocks on the perimeter and in the MOF. He takes inconsistent angles to the ball carrier and can struggle to aim his attack and take “shortcuts” to the football. Has some points where he looks hesitant as a tackler and can attempt with a loose grip. He gets too far upright in his pedal as he works back and needs to learn how to drop his hips more. CGJ can be a tick slow to come out of his stance and close on the top of the route.
Overview and Insights: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has the positional flexibility to be effective as a slot defender and a Free Safety. He is a fluid mover with an NFL ready frame, top level mental capacity, instincts, and solid overall ball skills. Based off of my evaluation, CGJ projects to a FS or Nickel in the NFL and can be a quality starter right off the bat.
Round Projection: Second
Ideal Fits: Buccaneers, Lions, Jaguars, Panthers
Scout: Taylor Moser