Johnson has added more than 10 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame and he will show how well he carries it Monday when he runs the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Johnson said he expects to run the 40 in the low 4.4-second range.
If Johnson accomplishes that, it could move teams such as the Steelers toward Johnson’s opinion of himself.
"I'm the best cornerback in the draft,” he said. “I think I'm a lockdown cornerback."
Johnson has good length for a cornerback and he started four seasons at Wake Forest, intercepting eight passes and developing the kind of skills that could make him a first-round pick at the end of April. ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has Johnson as the fourth-best cornerback in the draft. ESPN analyst Kevin Weidl ranks Johnson second among the cornerback in the draft, behind only Marcus Peters.
“I think I have excellent feet, hips, ball skills; I'm a competitor,” Johnson said. “I’m a student of the game and I'm a playmaker. I can do it all.”
That confidence should appeal to the Steelers, who will weigh heavily whether to take a cornerback in the first round of draft for the first time since 1997 when they selected Chad Scott with the 24th overall pick.
Another plus for Johnson is his growth potential.
Wake Forest listed him at 175 pounds last season. Johnson said he weighed 188 pounds at the combine and can add more bulk.
“I was a late bloomer,” Johnson said. ”My freshman year of high school, I was 5-feet tall and weighed 96 pounds. So I'm just growing every day. I'm still growing now."