For the first time in more than a decade, an Indiana defensive back has been selected in the NFL Draft.
The Denver Broncos selected IU safety Jamar Johnson with the 20th pick of Saturday’s fifth round, making him the 12th Hoosier to be picked since 2014. Johnson’s selection also makes this the eighth consecutive year that IU has produced an NFL Draft pick.
This past fall, Johnson became the first Indiana safety to earn All-Big Ten first team honors since Eric Allen in 1996 after finishing eighth in the nation with four interceptions in eight games. The Sarasota, Fla. native, who moved from the hybrid safety position to free safety before the 2020 season, also recorded 43 tackles, 33 solo stops, one sack and 3.5 tackles for loss.
Johnson’s coverage skills made him IU’s top draft prospect this spring. Across 406 coverage snaps in his three-year career, Johnson allowed zero touchdowns on 44 targets. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson recorded a 31.7 passer rating allowed over the 2019 and 2020 seasons — the best among draft-eligible safeties. He also graded out as the 10th-best safety in coverage among Power Five players as a junior this past fall, per PFF’s metrics.
He was the 11th safety to come off the board in this year’s draft.
The last time Indiana had a member of its secondary selected was 2010 when the Indianapolis Colts picked former Hoosier receiver-turned-cornerback Ray Fisher in the seventh round.
Other Hoosiers who could hear their names called this weekend include defensive lineman Jerome Johnson, receiver Whop Philyor, running back Stevie Scott and offensive lineman Harry Crider.