|NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: USC WR Ronald Johnson||01.31.11 at 2:24 pm ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2011 NFL draft.
Position: Wide Receiver
What he brings: Johnson’s excellent speed (he has clocked as low as 4.38 in the 40) benefits him not only in getting a quick start off the line but on kick returns as well. He has the characteristics of a slot receiver: good hands (though he has suffered some criticism for catching the ball too close to his body), quickness and the ability to get open — although some have criticized his route running as being, at times, imprecise. If the Bristol, Conn., native were to join the Patriots, he could benefit from proximity to one of the best in the game in the slot, Wes Welker.
Where the Patriots could get him: 4th or 5th round
Notes: Johnson battled back from an injury plagued junior season with a respectable 64 receptions, 694 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2010. He was especially effective in the beginning of the season with three touchdowns in the season opener against Hawaii, including a thrilling 89 yard punt return. His career was characterized by significant turnover, both of his starting quarterbacks (he played with three different ones) and in the coaching staff, as he remained with the program even after the departure of former head coach Pete Carroll. While he doesn’t have the same statistics as some of the other wide receivers, his speed, willingness to pursue balls in the middle of the field and potential upside make him an interesting gamble for the late rounds.
Video: Highlights from Johnson’s senior season at USC
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