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2019 Buffalo Bills scouting report: safety Jaquan Johnson

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The rookie out of Miami should immediately compete for a backup role

NFL Combine - Day 5 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In terms of depth, the Buffalo Bills have been able to amass plenty in the defensive secondary over the last two seasons. Heading into the 2019 NFL season, the Bills appear to have all of the pieces a coaching staff could want at both corner and safety. The team has clear starters who are at the top of their respective positional groups when compared to the rest of the league, they have solid veterans who understand how to prepare for excellence week in and week out, and they have solid young athletes looking to make their mark in the league.

In today’s installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we profile one of those young players—a safety who won’t start unless something happens to one of the players ahead of him on the depth chart, but who looks to be a sound addition to both the defense and the special teams.


Name: Jaquan Johnson

Number: 46

Position: S

Height/Weight: 5’10” 191 lbs.

Age: 23 (24 on 11/13/19)

Experience/Draft: R; selected in the sixth round (181 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Bills

College: Miami (Fl.)

Acquired: Sixth-round draft choice


Financial situation (per Spotrac): Johnson’s four-year rookie contract is worth a total of $2,704,340, of which $184,340 is guaranteed. In 2019, Johnson will count $541,085 against the salary cap if he makes the team. The Bills will be on the hook for the entirety of his guarantee if they release him, and that will also be the total of his dead-cap charge should that happen.

2018 Recap: As a senior for the Hurricanes, Johnson followed up an exceptional junior year with a great senior year. He totaled 92 tackles to lead the Hurricanes 18th-ranked defense (out of 130 schools). He also managed two interceptions (which brought his career total to eight), 1.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup, and two forced fumbles.

Positional outlook: Johnson will compete with Rafael Bush, Siran Neal, and Dean Marlowe for the right to back up starters Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. With Neal playing almost exclusively at slot corner this offseason, it vastly improves Johnson’s chances of not only making the roster, but seeing meaningful snaps in the event of an injury to either of the top names on the depth chart.

2019 Offseason: Johnson has participated in all offseason activities to date.

2019 Season outlook: Johnson has an excellent chance of making the roster as a special-teams missile/developmental prospect backing up Hyde and Poyer. He’s a big-hitter who forced five fumbles in his final two collegiate seasons, so that kind of pop covering kicks is exactly what head coach Sean McDermott wants in his special teams. As a sixth-round pick, his place on the roster certainly isn’t set in stone, but he has a better shot at making the roster than someone like Marlowe, whom the Bills have used as a practice-squad cog for the last two seasons. Unless he’s injured or plays terribly during the preseason, I expect Johnson to be the Bills’ fourth safety this year.