NFL Draft Diamonds Spotlight: Darien Johnson, CB, New Mexico State
New Mexico State has a few very interesting prospects. TraShaun Nixon and Austin Franklin are very intriguing, but don’t forget about feisty CB Darien Johnson. Johnson has great recovery speed and instincts. A very fun player to watch. Here is our interview with Darien.
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
There were a good amount of teams recruiting me out of high school, had offers from some schools in the WAC/MWC. I had my sights set on Oregon, but they never offered me.
How did you come to make your college decision?
Coach Dwayne Walker who was previously the defensive coordinator at UCLA was recruiting me as a junior in high school, he then took the head coaching job at New Mexico State and came back to get me my senior year, and told me I had the ability to play as soon as I stepped foot on campus which I did.
Where are you training, and what are your goals for pro day/combines?
Creatin Monsters, New spot with Justin Mags he used to be the head guy at Velocity but decided to venture off on his own. I also have a good speed coach that I used to work with back in my track & field days. My main goal is to put myself in a good position to get picked up.
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
I have not personally talked to any scouts. My coaches at New Mexico State have on my behalf, Ive heard some good things.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
I think it would be my strength/speed and the mental aspect of the game. I believe that preparation is the biggest part of football.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
I look for wide-receiver tendencies. What they do in certain situations, against press coverage/off coverage/releases. The little things make all the difference
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
The best receiver I have guarded would probably be Shaq Evans from UCLA.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
Ronde Barber/Tyrann Mathieu…
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle in my life I would have to say was going from playing for a winning program in high school to struggling in college. I overcame it by working as hard as possible and doing whatever I could to help put my team in the best position to win as possible.
What system fits your style of play the best?
Multiple defenses, Defenses that mixes it up with coverage’s/man to man coverage based on the situation presented and loves to blitz from the nickel spot. I believe that gives players a better chance to make plays
What is your biggest strength?
My biggest strength is my ability to not only play the outside, but play nickel well. Covering slots man-to-man.
What is your biggest weakness?
I would say size, but I don’t really consider it a weakness personally.
If I were a GM and gave you a minute to sell yourself, what would you say?
Dedicated player that’s going to give his all to his team and play whatever role he is in to the best of his ability.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My role model was and is to this day would be my Grandfather. Represents everything I want to be when I reach his age. Great husband, father, grandfather, mentor, Christian.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
My favorite NFL team was the San Diego Chargers because I am from Southern California and they are the closest team to me. Player would be Richard Sherman I believe that he is the best corner in the game today
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
Definitely would be Kobe Bryant, Beyonce, and a good friend Austin Lacy who past away a few years back.
What would you buy with your first NFL paycheck?
The first thing I want to do before I do anything is make sure my parents and grandparents are right. They have done so much for me over the years and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. God has blessed me with an amazing support system.