Former Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson entered Purdue’s pro day Friday with a chip on his shoulder.
His 40 time of 4.65 at the NFL Combine last Tuesday was the slowest among all 33 cornerbacks and the eighth worst among 53 defensive backs.
“I wanted to improve on my 40 and show them that I am faster than you think I am,” Johnson said. “I’m not just quick, I can run.”
The Dade County, Fla. native bounced back with a strong showing at the pro day, running closer to the 4.4-range.
He opted to not partake in the bench press shuttle drills after putting up above-average numbers in the events at the NFL Combine, but he did participate in the vertical and broad jumps.
“I feel like I did a lot better (than I did at the NFL Combine),” Johnson said. “I was more comfortable around all of my friends and family and I had a lot of confidence in myself. I had some old teammates there to motivate me and push me on and I feel like I succeeded.”
Big Ten Network analyst Tom Dienhart said Johnson’s knack for making plays — he broke up 31 passes at Purdue, the fifth-most in school history — more than makes up for any questionable workout numbers.
“If you turn on the film and watch Johnson play, that’s all you need to know,” Dienhart said. “While some of his measurables may not be top-shelf, the guy had a knack for making plays and being in the right position more often than not.”
Johnson said he was at his peak physically after working out at the Combine just three days before the Pro Day.
He also credited his improved performance to practicing starts with Akeem Shavers the day before and a shorter length of time in his stance at the Mollenkopf Athletic Center.
“I just wasn’t confident in myself (at the Combine) as far as being in that stance for three seconds,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t really get my good push.”
Former Purdue quarterback Robert Marve said Johnson impressed him with his performance and 5-9, 199-pound physique.
“He was one of the guys who I thought came back and looked like he put on some muscle,” Marve said. “You seem him running and he’s flowing.”
Johnson, who plans to return to his home in Florida to continue working out, is projected to hear his name called in the fifth or sixth round of April’s NFL Draft.
“(Scouts) like my character, they like how I play, they like how physical I am and they like that I have the knack to be by the ball,” Johnson said.