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Johnson vows to always carry chip on his shoulder


Of all positions, it's often said that cornerbacks need to have a short memory.

It doesn't appear that's going to be the case with Bears second-round pick Jaylon Johnson, however, at least when it comes to where the Utah product was drafted.

Johnson was thrilled to be selected by the Bears, saying that he'll be "forever grateful and thankful" to them. But the 6-foot, 195-pounder wasn't as pleased about waiting until the 50th pick to be chosen, vowing that he'll always carry that chip on his shoulder.

"No, I'll never forget about that," Johnson said Friday night during a conference call with the media. "To me, this moment is big and it's a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I only go through this once.

[But] the way I took it is [other teams] feel like there were so many other corners better than me that I couldn't add value to that organization. So for me, at the end of the day, I'm going to go out every week and show who I am, what I could've been for any team that would have selected me and really just give back to the team that did pick me and show love to them."

Johnson was the seventh cornerback selected in the draft. He joins the Bears after playing in 38 games with 29 starts the past three seasons at Utah, where he was a two-time first-team All-Pac 12 selection who registered 102 tackles, 21 pass breakups and seven interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

Asked about his competitiveness, Johnson said: "Honestly, I'm a dog. I'm a real strong competitor. Everything I did at Utah, I had to be that No. 1 corner and going out every week and shutting down No. 1 wide receivers. I'm used to getting after it. I'm used to challenging guys. I never shy down from competition. In big games, there was never a time that I didn't show up and make plays."

In expressing his excitement about becoming part of the Bears defense, Johnson named all three players who were voted to the Pro Bowl last season.

"I just know the playmakers right away," he said. "I think it was the Khalil Mack trade, that was big for Chicago. Kyle Fuller, I've been studying his game and liked him since he was in college. And then even Eddie Jackson, knowing the playmaker he is and how experienced he is. So just being able to be a part of that defense and add some value to their defense, to their organization, will be big time."

Asked to describe his game, Johnson said: "I would say versatile. Not being that corner that's limited only in man or zone schemes, but being able to play multiple coverages and being able to go out and compete and take away No. 1 wide receivers. I'm well rounded and extremely competitive."

Johnson also feels that he's equally adept at playing press-coverage and off-coverage.

"I'm very comfortable playing both," he said. "If I was limited to only one, I'd definitely choose press man. But I'm definitely comfortable with both and I've definitely worked on technique and footwork to be able to play both at a high level. So I definitely like being balanced in that aspect."

Johnson is eager to prove himself with the Bears and show other teams exactly what they're missing. He admitted to having mixed emotions Friday night, saying he expected to be drafted higher but didn't want anyone to think he wasn't extremely happy that the Bears gave him a chance to achieve his childhood dream of playing in the NFL.

"I'm definitely forever grateful for the Bears to be that first team to believe in me and give me an opportunity to be able to provide for my family," Johnson said. "At the end of the day, I'm forever grateful and thankful. It's just the expectations I had for myself, I didn't expect to be around for that pick. I definitely had some internal things going on in terms of that aspect. But I'm forever grateful."

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