Rapid Reaction: SS Matt Johnson

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
1:28
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys picked their fourth defensive player of the NFL draft by selecting Eastern Washington safety Matt Johnson.

Pros: He's a hard hitter who is not afraid of contact and somebody who has played through injuries. He picked up 289 tackles and 17 interceptions in his career. Johnson makes plays on the ball as a deep center fielder and near the line of scrimmage. He likes playing special teams, and performed on the punt team for four seasons but was taken off other special teams units because he was on defense. Johnson improved his 40 times, recording a 4.6 40 his junior season and then a 4.5 40 this year.

Cons: Health. He had a concussion and surgery on his bicep during his career. NFL teams asked him about his health, but he passed all physical tests. Chicago Bears had him projected as a undrafted free agent pickup, Cowboys drafted him. Johnson is pretty quick but can he cover tight ends or help out deep in the backend when wide receivers get free?

Cowboy fit: He will be a main guy on special teams and expressed a desire to do it. He won't see a lot of time on defense but having a physical player on the field doesn't hurt a defense that looked soft at times.

Could have had: Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M; Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M; Robert Blanton, S, Notre Dame; Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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