Which Buccaneers WR should Chicago Bears CB Jaylon Johnson follow?

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

Jaylon Johnson has emerged as a star cornerback for the Chicago Bears. They have not faced many legitimate top wide receivers, but when the Bears took on the Packers and Browns, Johnson followed Odell Beckham and Davante Adams. This is something Chicago has not done with their corners in the past as they have typically played sides.

When Johnson faces a team like Detroit, he will stick to his right side, but he is there when they need to shut down a top threat. When it comes to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the question is not whether they have a top threat, but rather which of their top threats is the actual top threat.

Mike Evans has been the man, but Chris Godwin is emerging as the younger, higher upside player. On top of that, they added Antonio Brown off of his off-field fiascos, and he is back to being an elite wide receiver.

Considering the Bucs have three legitimate threats, there should be a question as to which one will Johnson follow if any? The reality is that while Johnson can take on one of these threats, with Xavier Crawford and Kindle Vildor as the other corners, both could be in trouble with who is left. This is not Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb.

Chris Godwin lives in the slot

Jaylon Johnson is not going to spend much time on Chris Godwin. Godwin spends 67% of his snaps in the slot, and the only time Johnson ends up there is to defend Beckham and Adams when they moved inside.

Even then, Adams had his biggest catch of the game against Johnson in the slot. Johnson is a great defender with the sideline next to him but looked lost in the slot. Godwin against Crawford is not what Chicago wants, but it will be the matchup they have to deal with.

Will Jaylon Johnson follow Mike Evans?

This leaves Mike Evans and Antonio Brown for Johnson to worry about. Brown lines up on the side that Johnson typically does 33% of the time, while Evans is 38%. With Godwin outside on 13%, it may be worth sticking Johnson on his side and letting him get all three for bits and pieces when they come that way.

It will leave Vildor on Brown 48% of the time, but it doesn’t force Johnson out of his comfort zone and not force him on one wideout, which lets the Bucs dictate where he lines up.

Beyond that, it would mean he sees Evans the most, and stylistically that is his best matchup as well. Evans is a downfield threat who wins on the sidelines, but Johnson is best defending down the field contested catches with the help of the sidelines. It is often in-breaking routes that hurt Johnson.

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With that in mind, Evans is his best matchup and lines upon his side most often. There is a case to be made that Johnson should follow Evans, but if he sticks to his side, he will see him plenty, and it may help the others stay in their roles as well.