2012 NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report:
Eastern Washington safety Matt Johnson was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys with the No. 135 overall pick in the fourth round. His senior season ended abruptly after sustaining a biceps injury. Johnson isn’t likely to start in his rookie season but he will compete for a role on the team. The Cowboys had their eye on Mark Barron and athletically, Johnson is comparable on paper.
Johnson ran a 4.54 40 yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times at his pro day. That is quite a performance for a defensive back. Johnson is quick to diagnose plays and reacts well instinctively. He plays physical to the whistle and wraps up cleanly. He’s at his best playing downhill which likely limits him to the strong safety position.
When in man to man coverage, he lacks the footwork to keep up with precise route runners. His feet will get tangled and he’ll fall back on his speed to make up for it.
Fourth round: S Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington
How he fared: Johnson missed the entire season and didn’t even practices much because of injuries to both hamstrings.
How he rates: He hasn’t played in a game yet, but the Cowboys believe he has the potential to start at safety for them in 2013.
College: The Dallas Cowboys aimed at bolstering their defense through the 2012 NFL Draft and hope they landed another defensive back to accomplish the task when they selected Matt Johnson with their second fourth round pick (135th overall). Johnson started every game he played (45) while at Eastern Washington, having his senior season cut short after seven games with shoulder surgery. During his time at EWU, Johnson amassed 341 tackles – fifth all-time in school history – 22 tackles for losses, 30 pass breakups and 17 interceptions – one shy of the school record – while exiting as the university’s all-time leader with six forced fumbles. As he makes the jump to the pro level, Johnson looks to pick up where he left off before the injury as he posted back-to-back 100-tackle seasons as a sophomore and junior.