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    Cornelius Johnson’s Draft Profile | Michigan, WR Scouting Report

    He's never been an elite producer, but could Michigan WR Cornelius Johnson have a better 2024 NFL Draft scouting report than his numbers indicate?

    Could Michigan WR Cornelius Johnson be a high-upside sleeper in his 2024 NFL Draft positional class? Johnson has been draft-eligible for a few cycles now, but he might finally be in position to deliver on his upside and announce himself to the evaluative world.

    Cornelius Johnson Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 6’3″
    • Weight: 208 pounds
    • Position: Wide Receiver
    • School: Michigan
    • Current Year: Redshirt Senior

    Cornelius Johnson has long been lauded as a size/speed threat. He was a four-star recruit in the 2019 cycle who came out of high school with a documented 4.58 40-yard dash time. That figure came even before Johnson was introduced to Michigan’s developmental program. And though he hasn’t produced at an elite clip, he’s shown flashes of his potential each season.

    In 2021, Johnson logged career highs in catches (40) and yards (627). And in 2022, though his target share and yardage took a dip, he doubled his career high in touchdowns, with six scores on the season. Johnson is a confirmed big-play threat with his speed and length, but does he quietly have the tools to be more than that?

    Cornelius Johnson Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Sports a lean, wiry frame with underrated mass and impressive length.
    • Dangerous vertical threat with elite explosive capacity and field-stretching speed.
    • Has the long-strider speed to attack space and get open past deep coverage.
    • Hips are loose enough to stack direction changes and channel energy through cuts.
    • Has great energy in his movement and uses a staccato, amped-up style to displace.
    • Has the ability to step through arm tackles in space and recollect feet shortly after.
    • Flashes good ball-tracking ability downfield and can rise vertically and extend.
    • Has shown he can make smooth adjustments to short passes, corralling with soft hands.
    • Brings very underrated route-running utility as a vertical threat, showing sharp nuance.
    • Has shown he can chop his feet quickly to halt, sink, and redirect at stems.
    • Has the blind spot awareness to manipulate DBs with his vertical athleticism and create.
    • Flashes great stopping ability and hip sink, using head fakes in tandem to feign intent.
    • Can swivel around tightly at stems and cut at impressive angles while decelerating.
    • High-effort blocker who brings good energy and has the length to lock out DBs.

    Weaknesses

    • Hand technique and coordination remain inconsistent, inhibiting catch-point security.
    • Can be prone to focus drops in space or with impending contact.
    • Sometimes cradles passes against his body when corralling in-stride, sourcing instability.
    • Occasionally experiences lapses in timing when attempting to track deep passes.
    • At times, can be somewhat staggered and leggy when stacking lateral transitions.
    • Tall frame comes with modest hip stiffness, requiring gather steps on sharp cuts.
    • At times, can be more efficient and proactive with physicality working off of releases.
    • Occasionally rounds off route breaks without accelerating, keying in defenders.
    • With leaner frame, naturally lacks high-end contact balance as a RAC threat.
    • Doesn’t quite have elite breakaway speed in the open field.
    • Blocking technique and leverage maintenance through reps can be inconsistent.
    • Will turn 24 years old in November of his rookie season.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    On my preliminary 2024 NFL Draft board, Johnson grades out as an early Day 3 prospect who could potentially work his way into late Day 2 consideration with a good year catching passes from J.J. McCarthy.

    Age and breakout metrics are not on his side, but watching the tape, there’s reason to believe Johnson has more to offer than what he’s advertised as.

    Of course, the surface-level traits are very appealing. At 6’3″, 208 pounds, Johnson is a physical specimen with elite explosiveness and venerable long-strider speed, who also has exciting short-area twitch and energy in his movement.

    His vertical element has proven dangerous for countless Big Ten defenses, but as an independent separator, he shows promise as well.

    Johnson is quietly more flexible than expected for his size. Though he doesn’t have elite flexibility, he has more than enough hip sink and elasticity as a route runner to snap and retract his strides and manipulate defensive backs.

    He’s shown he can press upfield into stems and blind spots, using his vertical speed to scare defenders before capitalizing with sharp cuts and fast, efficient feet. He also has the burst to separate on digs and outs.

    MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

    Even now, entering Year 5 of his career, Johnson still has room to seek greater consistency, both as a route runner and as a hands-catcher. And seeing that he’ll be a 24-year-old rookie, he may be past some teams’ age guardrails in the early rounds.

    Nevertheless, Johnson has the size, speed, and ball-tracking ability to be a valuable deep threat right away, and there are elements of his profile that suggest potential beyond that.

    Draft with your friends today! PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator now supports multiple drafters during the same draft! Ensure your player rankings are up to date on the 2024 NFL Draft Big Board and you know what every NFL team needs before drafting.

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