Describing his decision as the ‘perfect fit,’ this undrafted wide receiver is mapping out a plan to make it at the next level.
For Gary, Indiana native, Jon’Vea Johnson, not hearing his name announced during the NFL draft, hasn’t impacted his enthusiasm or his passion for making an NFL roster. More specifically a spot on the roster depth chart with the Dallas Cowboys, behind Amari Cooper, second year player Michael Gallup, recently signed Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin.
Heading into the draft, the former University of Toledo wide receiver had been gaining lots of momentum since his pro day, where he impressed coaches and scouts alike, with his final numbers. Johnson registered a jump of 35 inches in the vertical jump; leaping 10 feet, 8 inches in the broad jump and was clocked at 4.38 unofficially in the 40-yard dash.
During the pre-draft process, Johnson lived in Dallas for three months and focussed on training and developing his game for the professional level.
“One of my main goals was to get faster,” Johnson said. “That is the primary reason I chose to train at the Michael Johnson Performance Center in Texas. I felt, I was really able to reach those goals with the results that I achieved at my pro day.”
Overall, Johnson said he enjoyed the pre-draft experience of visiting and talking with prospective teams, along with the entire process that comes with the NFL draft.
When the picks were being announced in the middle rounds, he was left to his thoughts about the next chapter of his career with every pick that came and went during the final day of selections for NFL teams.
When the Cowboys were putting their plans in place for players they were looking to bring in as undrafted free agents, Johnson was on their shopping list and wide receivers coach, Sanjay Lee was reaching out to him.
During the halfway point of the seventh round, the Cowboys phoned Johnson and offered him a deal, contingent on not being selected with one of the remaining picks. At this point of the late afternoon, Johnson explained that he wasn’t upset about not being drafted.
“I was more mentally drained from sitting in front of the television than anything else. When it was time to ink the deal with the Cowboys, it didn’t fully hit me until the next day that I was going to be joining the Dallas Cowboys for training camp.”
When it was decision time to sign with a team, Johnson had three offers from different NFL teams. He sat down with his family that has a strong background in the sport, with his father Jason Johnson, a former wide receiver with the Broncos and Steelers, along with his cousins that both played collegiately.
“As a group we sat down and put are bullet points down on paper. Honestly, Dallas matched all of them,” Johnson said. “From living in the area, during my pre-draft training, I already liked the vibe in Dallas. One of the other things I took into consideration was I wanted to be around one of the up and coming quarterbacks in the league. With the Cowboys, Dak is definitely one of those quarterbacks.”
When reflecting on his collegiate career at the University of Toledo, Johnson mentioned the game against Brigham Young jumps out as one of the most memorable from his Rockets career.
He mentioned from the talent that lined up on the field that night, to the offensive fireworks display that took place in the 55 – 53 Cougars victory over the Rockets.
The shootout featured close to 1300 total yards of total offense, with BYU running back, Jamaal Williams setting a school record with five touchdowns and a career high 286 yards.
For Johnson, he hauled in nine catches for 182 yards and scored three touchdowns. His longest scoring play went for 79 yards. At the end of the college football season, ESPN ranked this match up as one of the top 25 games of the whole season.
“To me that was a basketball game on turf, just back and forth all night.” Johnson said. “It was one of those games to remember.”
Johnson said that he sees some similarities between the Toledo offense and what the Cowboys are looking to do.
“I feel I can help the Cowboys take the top off the opposing defense,” Johnson said. “Plus, I look forward to soaking up everything I can learn from the veteran group in the wide receivers room and on the field.”
For Johnson and the other rookies their first test begins with rookie mini-camp later this week May 10 – 12.