QB De’Andre Johnson – Sea Lions (Houston Division)
#1 | HT: 6’1″ | WT: 205 | DOB: 2/2/1996 | High School: First Coast (Jacksonville, FL) | College: Florida State/East Mississippi CC/Florida Atlantic/Texas Southern
QB De’Andre Johnson overview
De’Andre Johnson was the promising backup to Jameis Winston at Florida State before his career was derailed by a bar incident that involved Johnson hitting a woman. He would transfer out of Florida State back into the JUCO ranks and again to Florida Atlantic through Texas Southern. He never got another chance at the FBS level.
Johnson started five games for the Sea Lions in 2021. His competition included former Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and Ben Holmes. Johnson was the only quarterback on the team to pass for a touchdown, completing 55% of his passes for 574 yards and 5 touchdowns. The drawback? He threw seven interceptions and lost a couple of fumbles. Consistency was a challenge for Johnson all season long.
The best part of his game is his run ability. He has an explosive style that reminds you of Michael Vick. Reportedly, he ran an official 4.37-4.42 forty-yard dash in February of 2021. Speed and electricity are a huge part of his game. The issue is his passing ability, which is severely hot and cold. He flashes tremendous ability at times but fails to consistently deliver.
De’Andre Johnson scouting report: Quarterback Ability
As a quarterback, the priority on the position is the capability to throw the football. On our grade, we want to make sure that the majority of the evaluation is based on the quarterback’s ability to throw the football.
Arm Talent (14/20)
De’Andre Johnson’s arm tests out about average across the NFL. His arm strength is slightly better than average but his mediocre release is what holds him back, in my opinion. He flashed some special ability from time-to-time throughout the season making some key throws in difficult spots.
Arm Strength (7/10)
Clearly, De’Andre Johnson has arm strength. He flashed it throughout the season with pretty deep balls that he could push effortlessly down the field. Routinely, he made 40-50 yard throws with a beautiful delivery. The ball didn’t wobble and had a good spiral. I thought that his ability to throw off his platform really hurt his ability to ace the evaluation. Johnson loses a lot of arm strength and velocity when trying to make a throw on the move. His velocity at his release is good as well, as he displays a strong arm that can push balls to receivers quickly.
I thought that his ability to throw off his platform really hurt his ability to ace the evaluation. Johnson loses a lot of arm strength and velocity when trying to make a throw on the move. Considering the type of athlete that he is, I think that’s problematic.
Touch ability (4/5)
Johnson displays excellent touch ability and throws a very catchable ball. The only drawback is that sometimes he doesn’t know when to throw with touch and when to throw with velocity. The consistency was on for the most part, but his bad plays stick in your mind. He was one of the drawbacks to his offense when he wasn’t on.
The biggest issue with Johnson’s release is the release point. He’s listed right at 6’1″ and his release point is low, which allows for footballs to be batted down at the line of scrimmage more often than not. In fact, he suffered a couple of interceptions in the season from passes getting deflected at the line of scrimmage and bouncing to defenders. That’s a concern that he won’t be able to shake.
De’Andre Johnson flashed the ability to make accurate throws and great placement, but was not nearly consistent enough. It seems as though Johnson would turn hot and start making every throw before cooling down and going stone cold.
Johnson flashed the ability to throw with extreme accuracy, but was mostly box-accurate. Johnson missed a lot of short passes too, screens in the backfield and slants, by simply overthrowing his receiver.
Johnson may have been the most inconsistent quarterback in The Spring League in 2021. When he was on, he was spectacular. His placement ability flashed tremendous ability to get the ball past defenders.
However, that ability wasn’t nearly always there. So many times, Johnson was woefully inaccurate with the football. Several of his seven interceptions throughout the season were the direct result of poor placement and could have been avoided.
Pocket Presence (6/10)
De’Andre Johnson showed some decent pocket presence ability, but ultimately waivered under pressure. He has the ability to work up in the pocket and make good throws. However, he was not nearly consistent in doing so. That will concern quarterback coaches who want Johnson to stay within the play structure and not bail when he doesn’t have to.
Pocket Positioning (3/5)
Johnson clearly has the ability to position himself well in the pocket and flashed his ability to do so many times. He is comfortable doing so. However, he has a habit of wilting under pressure and abandoning his mechanics to force the pass downfield. He looks the part in the pocket, but push comes to shove, he didn’t perform well.
Pocket Maneuverability (3/5)
Johnson’s pocket presence clearly demonstrates that he knows how to maneuver in the pocket – he’s again not consistent with it and wilts under pressure. When he feels space, he works up well in the pocket and makes great throws when he needs to. Sometimes, he even takes off and gashes the defense for a long gain.
Overall, De’Andre Johnson showed good footwork and stayed consistent with his movement. He has some limitations which really kept this grade from showing his real potential.
Johnson has good footwork on the traditional drop-back. He gets to his point and keeps his feet moving. Those are good factors. The problem is that Johnson is limited in terms of what he can do in structure. Johnson’s bootleg reps were not ideal as he struggled to keep himself prepared to throw on his rollouts. This limits his ability in play-action structure, which NFL teams will take note of.
When Johnson gets under pressure, he often struggles to set to throw. He looks terribly awkward as he launches from his platform and oftentimes forces the ball out by abandoning his mechanics. This, too, is problematic.
Johnson has quick and active feet. His drops are smooth, consistent, and he keeps his eyes locked downfield as the play progresses.
De’Andre Johnson scouting report: Athleticism (12/20)
Athleticism at the quarterback position doesn’t come from just being fast and being able to run the football. How well can a quarterback extend the play? Does he improvise when he needs to? These are important questions in the modern era of football.
As we’ve noted before, De’Andre Johnson is a ridiculously athletic quarterback. He’s special in that regard.
Outside of the Pocket (4/7)
Johnson has a lot of ability outside of the pocket because of his speed and athleticism. He flushes out well. However, Johnson doesn’t often look for the play to continue downfield and instead becomes a runner. When he does look for the play, he doesn’t throw well off platform which kills his ability to be deadly outside of the pocket. He’s explosive enough of an athlete that he can make things happen with his feet, but I have to knock him for his lack of passing ability outside of the pocket.
Downfield ability (5/5)
As mentioned previously, Johnson is very fast and an excellent athlete. I hate to use legendary comparisons, but his running ability is much like former NFL star Michael Vick. He has the same speed, the same maneuverability, and is difficult to bring down. In fact, he was reportedly timed at a pro day by NFL scouts at 4.37-4.42 in his forty-yard dash in February.
His special quality is his body control as he maneuvers his way around defenders. It’s special, it’s electric, and he converted several first downs over the course of the season with his legs.
Improvability is measured in two ways – the ability to extend the play in structure and out of structure. In structure would be play extension – keeping the play call alive without diverting receivers from their routes. Improvability is making a broken play into something more than a loss. Unfortunately, it’s not something that De’Andre Johnson does well either way.
Natural improvability (2/4)
Johnson has raw athleticism which allows him normally to improvise. When the play breaks down, Johnson is always a threat to take off running for a long gain. However, Johnson isn’t too capable of using teammates to help him improvise. That’s a problem. It almost seems that Johnson takes on too much of the responsibility when the play breaks down to make something happen. He tries too hard to make it work. That’s the potential holdup for Johnson.
Play Extension (1/4)
Johnson does not extend plays well in structure. He struggles to keep his eyes downfield when under pressure, and turns into a runner much too quickly at times.
De’Andre Johnson scouting report: Intelligence (7/15)
Some quarterbacks are able to separate themselves from the rest of the crowd with supreme football knowledge. Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady have both made incredible careers by being incredibly football savvy. Johnson, however, falls short of expectations in this category.
Football IQ/Field Vision (4/10)
Football Intelligence (2/5)
Johnson may be good in the locker room with football knowledge, but it doesn’t always show on the field. He has a bad habit of trying to force the football downfield and into coverages, especially when under pressure. He doesn’t show the awareness to abandon the play when he needs to and throw the ball away. Coverages post-snap appear to be problematic, I don’t know if he struggles to see the field or if he doesn’t understand them.
Ability to read pre-snap (2/5)
Johnson shows some ability to read pre snap coverages and can make quick reads without thinking too drastically. However, Johnson showed no ability to read disguised coverages and even attempted to make throws he should have known pre-snap weren’t there. He threw an interception in every game that he played for this reason.
It’s hard to get a read on what kind of a person Johnson is. The infamous video where he punched a woman in a Tallahassee bar landed him an interview with former NFL player Michael Strahan, where he declined to answer most of the questions. Granted, the interview questions were awful and seemed to attempt to paint him in a negative light. It’s clear that when he stepped on the football field, his team seemed to play better.
De’Andre Johnson scouting report: Additional Factors (+1)
The injury and upside factors balance the grade with special considerations. Upside measures how much a player can be expected and/or projected to improve.
Injury Bonus (+1)
The reason why Johnson ended up his final season playing for Texas Southern is because of blood clots that he developed at FAU. Had it not been for blood clots, there’s a good chance he would have sniffed at an NFL chance before. Johnson also suffered a knee injury in week two of the Spring League, which kept him out of the back half of the fourth quarter. He does bring some injury concerns to the forefront.
Upside Bonus (0)
I don’t believe that from a mechanics standpoint that there is much that Johnson can improve on. His footwork is solid (except when he is under pressure) and his flaws by this point are habitual. I can’t project him improving too much on an NFL roster.
De’Andre Johnson scouting report: Overall (59)
De’Andre Johnson projects as a deep depth/camp arm quarterback in the NFL. While his athleticism is electric and certainly exciting, his passing ability is lackluster to most quarterbacks in the NFL. It’s a shame, because he could be a phenomenal talent. I think his actions throughout his life held him back from getting some of the passing coaching he could have to really develop.
Johnson could get a camp invite and perhaps even make a practice squad to help assist his defensive teammates to prepare for more mobile quarterbacks. To me, that’s his plateau at the next level. I would love to see Johnson play in the XFL or the USFL in 2022.