In the week leading up to the game against the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 8, Chicago Bears secondary coach Deshea Townsend joked with Jaylon Johnson that his season was over.
A half-season was enough. No more rookie mistakes from the No. 50 pick in the draft.
Johnson responded by making back-to-back pass breakups in the third quarter against Titans wide receivers A.J. Brown and Corey Davis, prompting announcer Greg Jennings to declare “he plays like a seasoned veteran.”
“We’re just seeing him grow up and continue to develop into the corner that he wants to be and we need him to be,” Townsend said. “Those mistakes he had made, we talk about not making them anymore. He’s been doing well since the first game that he’s played, which is impressive for a young corner.”
When Johnson was the seventh cornerback drafted in April, the Utah product admitted he was frustrated he dropped so far after some projected him as a first-rounder. But he used that motivation to push past offseason shoulder surgery and put together a solid first season so far.
He has 13 passes defended, ranked third among all NFL players behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Carlton Davis and the New York Giants’ James Bradberry. He made the Pro Football Focus all-rookie midseason team and was mentioned among the top 14 NFL rookies in recent ESPN rankings.
“I definitely keep that hunger inside me, that there was…