The New Orleans Saints hit on more undrafted free agents than pretty much every other team in the NFL, singing guys such as Rasheed Shahid, Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Sammy Knight and many more. Following the 2023 NFL Draft, the Saints signed UVA cornerback Anthony Johnson to a UDFA deal to come compete in training camp.
The #Saints have signed DB Anthony Johnson Jr as an UDFA.— Michael Balko (@MichaelBalkoJr) April 30, 2023
He had 138 tackles, 30 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, and 7 interceptions in his career.
Welcome to New Orleans, @aj_ballout ⚜️
Coming out of high school, the three-star corner held offers from Louisville, Pitt, USF and Florida Atlantic before committing to Louisville in 2017.
After playing in just 19 games in three seasons for the Cardinals, Johnson hit the portal in 2020, transferring to the University of Virginia. Since joining UVA, Johnson has appeared in 21 games and recorded 95 tackles, 17 pass defenses and five interceptions. His 1.4 passes defended per game ranked 7th in the nation last season.
The 6’2, 205 corner has the size and length to matchup with bigger NFL wideouts, and if he lands on the roster, he would be the biggest corner on the Saints have.
Johnson tested poorly at the NFL Combine, running a 4.63 40-yard dash and had a 31 inch vertical. He scored a 4.87 on the RAS which is much lower than what the Saints typically look for in their players.
Despite not being the most athletically gifted corners, Johnson was a team captain at UVA and won multiple awards including First Team All-ACC, PFF Second Team All-ACC and he earned himself an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl where he was awarded the American Team MVP following a pick six - we all know the Saints love guys who play at the senior bowl.
Most teams sign upwards of 10 UDFA’s after the draft, and usually only a couple will make roster cuts. Johnson is a guy worth brining in to see if he can compete at the NFL level. He has the college production and experience you want in a rookie, and you get him at an incredible deal. We’ll see how the rookie can hold up and camp and just maybe he’ll make the cut in a secondary that could use some depth.
Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our YouTube channel. Follow my personal page @clukehubbard for more!