The signing of John Johnson III this offseason was a huge statement by the Cleveland Browns. While many wondered how the team would build on their successful 2020 season, the Browns first move was, perhaps, the biggest move of the entire offseason in the NFL.
With Johnson in the fold, the Browns then added his former teammate in Troy Hill to continue the secondary overhaul that was much needed. Instead of resting on the laurels of 2020 and hoping the potent offense and expected development of young guys on defense would help, the Browns went big in free agency.
Takk McKinley, Anthony Walker, Malik Jackson and Jadeveon Clowney soon followed Johnson and Hill in signing in Cleveland.
It is Johnson that is the lynchpin, cornerstone of the offseason for the Browns. His leadership along with his ability to play a myriad of positions and roles will be invaluable to defensive coordinator Joe Woods.
ESPN, as they continue to rank players based on a survey of players, coaches and executives, have Johnson among their top 10 safeties this year after not ranking him the previous:
Johnson made more top-10 ballots than all but six safeties, thanks to his play with the Rams that earned an 85.6 Pro Football Focus rating last season.
As noted in the article title it wasn’t just his on the field play that was noted as excellent:
“Intangibles are second to none,” an AFC coach said. “He can run the show for a defense, great tackler. He brings a calmness to a defense and is a fearless competitor.”
Some great buzzwords that have permeated talk about Johnson since he came over to the team, the Browns believe all of them to be true.
As the #8 safety in the league, according to the ESPN rankings, Johnson’s impact on the field will be important. Those intangibles might make him the key to turning around a defense that struggled greatly in 2020.
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