Jaylon Johnson, CB – Chicago Bears hopeful starter
The next player who could benefit from a normal camp schedule and multiple preseason games is Jaylon Johnson. Johnson was drafted only seven picks after Cole Kmet in the 2020 NFL Draft. He was the Chicago Bears second of two second-round picks and 50th overall.
Johnson had a first-round grade by many analysts, but injuries are likely the reason he fell. He has had three shoulder surgeries already. That did not stop him from playing well during his 2019 season though and if healthy looks like he could be an upgrade over Prince Amukamara.
Just like with Kmet, rookies need time to get a feel for the speed of the game. Johnson is going to see some speedy receivers. He is also going to go up against guys who are better route runners than he is used to seeing in college. Although Johnson has gone up against some of the better college wide receivers and proven himself worthy, NFL receivers are in a league of their own for the most part. This is why you typically see guys take huge leaps in their second and third years.
My assumption here is that Johnson still finds a way to prove himself worthy of starting opposite Kyle Fuller, but he might start off slowly in regards to production. The good news is that the start of the season looks to be the easiest and hopefully that is all the time he will need to find his groove for the tough stretches later in the year.