Bears Impressed By Jaylon Johnson's Football IQ

"He's a talented guy, and he's a smart guy," Chuck Pagano says.

Chris Emma
June 24, 2020 - 10:27 am

(670 The Score) Inside the Bears' locker room, no player is revered for his preparation quite like cornerback Kyle Fuller, who's constantly watching his iPad to study the tendencies of quarterbacks and receivers and searching for tells in opponents' schemes.

So when Bears secondary coach Deshea Townsend mentions the similarities between Fuller's work and his early impression of rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson, it's high praise.

"Kyle is a student of the game," Townsend said by teleconference last week. "What’s pretty neat is to see the way that, the study habits that Jaylon has and the questions that he asks are very similar. Kyle’s going to be a good role model for him."

A second-round pick of the Bears in April, Johnson has yet to participate in any live work with his new team due to the coronavirus pandemic. Even so, the Bears' coaching staff has recognized his work ethic in the virtual offseason program.

While some rookies may be content just listening to new coaches speak through video conferencing, Johnson has had an active voice.

"He gets football, and he asks the right questions," defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said.

Johnson arrived in Chicago after starting at cornerback for Utah for the past three years. Townsend emphasized the Bears won't gift anyone a starting job in the secondary, meaning Johnson must compete against Artie Burns, Tre Roberson and Kevin Toliver to win the job opposite Fuller.

"He has the talent to go out and do all the things that we're going to ask him to do from a coverage standpoint, from a run support standpoint," Pagano said. "He can run, he's got good length, he can play up, he can play off, he can read the three-step, he's really good plant-and-drive and breaking downhill on the three-step. Playing with good eyes and good feet and all those kind of things.

"He's a talented guy and he's a smart guy."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.