Chicago Bears: Comparing Jaylon Johnson to his draft class

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears are going to need a huge season from Jaylon Johnson after they released Kyle Fuller. Johnson essentially is going from a second-round pick to number one corner in the span of just a season. With that in mind, expectations could get away from him as fans start to compare him to the other top CBs across the league.

However, fans need to remember that this is a second-year corner and that expectations need to be adjusted. To get a good sense of how Johnson performed as a rookie we are going to compare him to his 2020 class. Seeing how he stacks up with other rookies may help set realistic expectations.

Below are the cornerbacks who played enough snaps to qualify L’Jarius Sneed, Bryce Hall, Jaylon Johnson, Chris Claybrooks, Trevon Diggs, Michael Ojemudia, C.J. Henderson, Lamar Jackson, Troy Pride Jr., Cameron Dantzler, A.J. Terrell, Jeff Gladney, Damon Arnette, Jeffrey Okudah, Noah Igbinoghene

Average Depth of Target

Average Depth of Target (ADoT) is not an end-all stat, but seeing which corners are tested downfield, and which are not can give us some insight into the types of WRs they match up against, and how quarterbacks perceive their ability to be attacked.

Of the following corners, Jaylon Johnson had the fourth-highest depth of target with 13.6. He is with Michael Ojemudia, Trevon Diggs, and Noah I as the four corners targeted deepest down the field. L’Jarius Sneed had the lowest ADoT, but he also spent half his snaps in the slot, while almost every other CB on this list stuck to the outside. Bryce Hall and Jeff Gladney joined Sneed as CBs with an ADoT below 10.

There is an idea that Johnson played much more zone, and therefore did not take on in-breaking routes. He was more comfortable dropping back and defending the sideline which would result in teams only being able to target him down the field.

Snaps Per Target

How often were teams targeting the rookies? For Troy Pride, that was once every 8.5 snaps, but for Cam Dantzler, it was every 4.9 snaps. Even Jeff Okudah was tested every 5 snaps. Jaylon Johnson had the fifth-best rate in the class, being targeted once every 6.8 snaps.

Snaps Per Reception

Even more impressive is his snaps per reception rate. Johnson was best in the class with a reception allowed every 12 snaps. Jeff Okduah was the worst of the group at 6.6 snaps per reception allowed. Only Ojemudia and Noah I were above 10 snaps per reception allowed. It is worth noting they joined him with the highest ADoTs as well.

Yards Per Snap

Sneed was best in the class allowed 0.9 yards per coverage snap, while Okudah was the worst allowing 2.3 yards every time he dropped into coverage. Only Damon Arnette joined Okudah above 2. Jaylon Johnson sat behind Bryce Hall and Sneed as the third-best in the class. He allowed 1.2 yards per snap.

Yards Per Target

Once again, Sneed led the pack with 4.8 yards allowed per target. Still right behind him are Dantzler, Hall, and Johnson. Johnson allowed 8.2 yards per target, while Damon Arnette was in last at 12.6 and Okudah was at 11.6


How many of these yards are being allowed after the catch? We surprisingly see that Chris Claybrooks has the lowest rate in the class at 3.3. Jaylon Johnson was in the middle at 4.4. Okudah was not actually at the bottom in this one, but his Buckeye teammate Arnette was once again the worst at 5.7 yards allowed after the catch per reception.

Tackle Rate

You would assume Arnette is allowing so many yards after the catch because he is missing tackles and that is correct. He has a 34% missed tackle rate, far and away the worst in the class. Jaylon Johnson is at 13.2 which is actually rather high compared to four corners in this group that are below 10%.

Forced Incompletions

Now we look at how responsible the CBs are for some of these stats. Are the incompletions bad passes, or did Jaylon Johnson earn his stats? He earned it, Johnson had the best-forced incompletion rate in the draft class. He had a 19.4% FI rate. On the other end Noah I, and Okudah were below 4% So, Noah I had a high ADoT and low completions allowed, but the big difference is that Johnson is forcing over 4x as many incompletions per target.

For what it is worth, L’Jarius Sneed was at 8.9 which was 5th in the class.

PlayMaker Rating

This stat is going to combine forced incompletions, interceptions and then subtract for touchdowns allowed. This is whether you are making plays or giving them up.

Troy Pride, Jeff Gladney, Chris Claybrooks, Noah I, and Lamar Jackson all had negative playmaker rates.

However, Sneed, Diggs, and Jaylohn Johnson were all head and shoulders above the rest as the top three playmakers in the group.

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If you evenly weigh all of these stats the following list is how you would rank the top corners from last year.

L’Jarius Sneed
Bryce Hall
Jaylon Johnson
Chris Claybrooks
Trevon Diggs
C.J. Henderson
Michael Ojemudia
Lamar Jackson
Troy Pride Jr.
Cameron Dantzler
A.J. Terrell
Jeff Gladney
Damon Arnette
Jeffrey Okudah
Noah Igbinoghene

Sneed has shown up the most and it is hard to dispute what he has done. However, again, his mix in and out of the slot may change some of the stats. Bryce Hall started to get going towards the end of the year after suffering an injury in college last season. With that in mind, Jaylon Johnson does stand out as an outside presence who started almost the entire year and was one of the best cornerbacks in the draft class.

Maybe it is not time to set the bar at Jalen Ramsey, but there should be an expectation in year two that he will take another step forward.