Houston Texans: Lonnie Johnson Jr. continues to stride wide at OTAs

Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (Victor Hilitski/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (Victor Hilitski/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images) /

Houston Texans cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. is making impressive strides at OTAs. What’s going on with him? Let’s take a look further.

The Houston Texans have descended upon May and you all know certainly what time that is.  It’s the time of organized team activities (OTAs), where the players on the team converge to start the battle of who will win a coveted roster spot later in the summer.

As you know, it’s voluntary participation for the veterans but the only guys that haven’t been in attendance are J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney.  The practice is always useful but for those guys, we pretty much know they’re going to bring their A-game coming into the season.  Clowney, as expected, is holding out for a long-term deal to be inked this summer. The franchise tagged him non-exclusively for 2019, meaning that he’ll be a one-year deal for between roughly $15 to $17 million, depending on if they’ll pay him as a linebacker or defensive end.

This is certainly something he didn’t want but the Houston Texans have until July 15 to ink a deal for Clowney or else we may not see him for a while and that includes possibly a portion of the regular season as well.

That’s a story that all of us will continue to monitor and maybe it’ll have a happy ending with him making a return to the team.

But anyway, Lonnie Johnson Jr., the dynamic cornerback that the Houston Texans selected in the 2nd round of this season’s draft is already making strides as well as noise while participating in OTAs.

Aaron Wilson of the Chron reports that he’s “imposing his size and length to full advantage” while partaking in red-zone drills shadowing wide receivers.

Johnson is a 6-foot-2, 213-pound back with 32.63-inch arms and 9.13-inch hands that can run the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds.

He’s every bit of what Brian Gaine and Bill O’Brien are looking for in a player and I’m thrilled to hear that the early returns on his progress are good.  I wrote about him shortly after he was drafted, indicating he’s easily the most intriguing pick of the Texans‘ draft class.

He’s also impressed safety Justin Reid, who had this to say about him via Wilson:

"“He’s a real big kid,” he said. “He’s a big kid, almost bigger than me. You see it when he plays. You see it on the practice film. He knows how to use it as well, which is one of the good things about having good corners, is they know how to actually body receivers, especially if they’re going against a big guy. He’s someone that we can see as a potential matchup for those type of situations.”"

At this rate, we’re probably going to be seeing a lot of Lonnie in 2019 because of a such a need at

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the cornerback position.  Johnathan Joseph and likely Bradley Roby will the presumptive starters with Aaron Colvin in the slot but it’ll be interesting to see how quickly Johnson moves up in the pecking order.

According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Johnson had a 72.6 overall grade through 649 snaps with the Kentucky Wildcats this past season.  Quarterbacks had an 88.5 rating when targeting him, which was a total of 35 times in his final collegiate campaign.

He was also ranked 10th among cornerbacks in his draft class in cover snaps per target (9.31), definitely indicating that QBs were wary of throwing to him because of his talent.

I’ve read and I’m personally inspired by this man’s story to pull himself out by the bootstraps out of his negative surroundings in his hometown of Gary, Ind.  I’m positive that he doesn’t want to go back to where he was so there’s personal motivation for him to succeed in the pros.

Shine on Lonnie, shine on…

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