With their second pick in the second round of the NFL Draft Friday, the Bears chose Utah cornerback Jaylon Johnson with the 50th overall selection.
Johnson was a two-time first-team All-Pac 12 selection at Utah, where he played in 38 games with 29 starts the past three seasons and recorded 102 tackles, seven interceptions—two of which he returned for touchdowns—21 pass breakups and one sack. The 6-foot, 195-pounder's best year was 2018 when he set career highs with 41 tackles and four interceptions.
Last season Johnson earned second-team All-America honors. He started 13 games, ranking third in the Pac-12 with a team-leading 11 pass breakups.
"Jaylon has just a really good combination of size, athleticism and awareness," said general manager Ryan Pace. "He's that physical, press corner that uses his size really well. He uses his strength to his advantage, to re-route receivers. Jaylon also is a really intelligent player—plays the game with excellent instincts and awareness—you can see it in the way he plays.
"And Jaylon's another guy with outstanding football makeup, really high football character. This is a guy who is driven and passionate. [There are] a lot of stories about his work ethic and just his professional approach to the game. So we feel real strong about the physical talent but also the makeup."
Johnson's physical traits combined with his intangibles made him a prospect the Bears coveted in the draft.
"You watch the player and you get excited about the player," Pace said. "And then our scouts come in in the fall meetings and they start talking about the makeup. [College scout] Dave Williams is going into who this person is, his leadership, passion for the game, there's story after story; the film preparation, football intelligence, strength coach loves him, you go on and on.
"Now you're watching the talented player on tape and what we want out of corners, and you combine it with the makeup and then we get into the interviews and the Combine, and we get really comfortable with the player and the complete package."
Johnson underwent shoulder surgery this offseason. But Pace said the Bears are "very comfortable" with where he is medically.
"He's missed one game in two years," Pace said. "He played through an injury last year, which I think says a lot about him and kind of who he is. He got it fixed, and this will be something that will limit him some of the offseason program. But we feel really comfortable with our doctors and trainers and the work we did on it and we expect him to be healthy when we need him."
The Bears had the opportunity to trade down from No. 50, but taking Johnson was a no-brainer for Pace.
"We had some scenarios where we could have traded back out of that pick if we needed to," Pace said. "But when Jaylon was there, we turned the card in quickly because he's a guy we had graded high and it was a guy that fit our board as far as how the grades were coming off, and then it was a position of need for us as well. So we were really happy for that combination to take place."
With the 50th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bears select DB Jaylon Johnson