Drafted in the fourth round out of Eastern Washington University in the 2012 NFL Draft, Matt Johnson has failed to see a regular season snap in his two-year career. Even though Johnson hasn’t played in an NFL game, the Dallas Cowboys have high hopes for this free safety. After he was drafted in 2012, Johnson had to skip OTA’s because he had to finish classes in college. After Johnson finished those classes, he then had a hamstring that ultimately kept him out of the entire regular season.
In 2013, Jason Garrett expressed his interest in Johnson to become the starting free safety. The interesting thing was that the Cowboys drafted J.J. Wilcox out of Georgia Southern in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Things started out well in the Hall of Fame game against the Miami Dolphins, but Johnson left the game after he suffered a sprained left foot. That foot injury kept him out for the entire 2013 season. All in all, Johnson has only played in two preseason games with the Cowboys.
Regardless of all his injuries, Johnson has the chance to be the starting free safety in 2014 opposite of strong safety Barry Church. At Eastern Washington, Johnson had 15 interceptions and five forced fumbles. Garrett believed Johnson could have a big impact on special teams too. He may have been a reach in the fourth round, but Jerry Jones and co. really liked this guy.
Per Jonathan Bales:
Johnson: 6-1, 215 pounds, 4.52 40-yard dash, 10-1 broad jump, 4.07 short shuttle, 6.84 three-cone drill, 38-inch vertical, 18 reps
Player X: 6-0, 214 pounds, 4.63 40-yard dash, 10-1 broad jump, 4.06 short shuttle, 6.78 three-cone drill, 38-inch vertical, 15 reps
These two players are awfully similar in terms of their measurements. It turns out that player x is Kenny Vaccaro of the New Orleans Saints. The Cowboys really liked Vaccaro before the 2013 NFL Draft. He was viewed as the nation’s best safety, and it’s pretty funny how similar Vaccaro and Johnson are. While many Cowboy fans ridicule Johnson and his inability to stay healthy, the Eastern Washington product has an opportunity to be the starting free safety on this team.