Utah Utes football

Bears' Jaylon Johnson could be 'one of the best players' from 2020 NFL Draft

Bears' Jaylon Johnson could be 'one of the best players' from 2020 NFL Draft

It's hard to find someone who didn't like the Bears picking Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson in the second round. 

Johnson had plenty of first round grades, but multiple shoulder issues dropped his stock, and the Bears pounced. Starting left tackle Charles Leno Jr. has even chimed in already, telling the "Got 'Em Podcast" that, "[he] really enjoys watching [Johnson's] highlight tape. He can play some ball." 

So what do those who coached him think? On the latest episode of the "Under Center Podcast," Laurence Holmes talked to Sharrieff Shah – Johnson's DB coach at Utah – about what the corner can bring to Chicago. You won't want to miss what Shah had to say. You can find the entire episode right here or in the embedded player below: 

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson allowed only three TDs in more than 1,200 college snaps

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson allowed only three TDs in more than 1,200 college snaps

New Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson has a reputation of being a physical, press corner. Considered one of the best defensive players to ever play at Utah, Johnson's coverage stats show you why: 

Many had Day 1 grades on Johnson, but injury concerns caused him to slip to the Bears at #50. On a conference call with reporters on Friday night, Johnson spoke to the flexibility that made him such an appealing pick for Ryan Pace and company. 

"I would say versatile," he said. "Not being that corner that's playing only in man or zone schemes but being able to play multiple coverages and being able to take away No. 1 wide receivers. I'm well rounded and an extreme competitor."

Northwestern mounts huge comeback, beats Utah in Holiday Bowl; Thorson, Fitzgerald heading to NFL next?

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USA TODAY

Northwestern mounts huge comeback, beats Utah in Holiday Bowl; Thorson, Fitzgerald heading to NFL next?

It was a tale of two halves for Northwestern in Monday's Holiday Bowl.

After entering halftime trailing Utah 20-3, Northwestern mounted a huge second half comeback to knock off the Utes 31-20. Northwestern, which outscored Utah 28-0 in the third quarter, finishes the 2018 season with a 9-5 record.

Northwestern was just 3-of-14 on third down, though they forced six Utah turnovers (two interceptions) highlighted by an 82-yard fumble return for a touchdown by safety/linebacker Jared McGee.

Six turnovers forced is the most by Northwestern since Oct. 3, 2009 against Purdue, when the Wildcats also forced six turnovers.

Senior quarterback Clayton Thorson — who tore his right ACL on Dec. 29, 2017 in the Music City Bowl — finished 21-of-30 for 241 yards and two touchdowns. However, Thorson exited the game late in the fourth quarter after going down awkwardly near Utah's sideline.

Thorson is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. 

The win improves Northwestern's all-time bowl game record to 5-10. However, they have now three-straight bowl game wins; from the 1948-2012 seasons, they won two bowl games — the 1949 Rose Bowl and the 2013 Gator Bowl.

One of the biggest questions facing Northwestern is the future of head coach Pat Fitzgerald. According to a report, the Green Bay Packers are expected to request an interview with Fitzgerald for their head coaching vacancy.

Unlike Thorson, Fitzgerald leaving for the NFL is no guarantee. If he does leave, however, Fitzgerald would leave with the most all-time regular season wins (95) and bowl wins (4) in Northwestern history.

Fitzgerald's .576 winning percentage would also be best all-time by a Northwestern head coach, minimum five seasons. 

Fans likely will anxiously wait for news regarding Fitzgerald's future. Overall, though, fans should be appreciative of the job he has done into turning Northwestern into one of the better football programs in the Big Ten.

UPDATE: Here's what Fitzgerald said about his future after the game.