Darron Cummings, AP Photo

Weber State DB Taron Johnson a 4th-round NFL draft pick by Buffalo

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Apr 28th, 2018 @ 11:40am

OGDEN — Weber State's Taron Johnson was often referred to as one of the "once-in-a-generation" defensive players to come through the Wildcats' football program.

The Big Sky defensive player of the year will see his football career continue, too.

Johnson was selected in Saturday's fourth round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills, the league announced in the morning. The 121st overall pick, Johnson was an Associated Press first-team FCS All-American as a senior in 2018, when he led the Wildcats to their best season in program history and a spot in the national semifinals.

Johnson is the first Weber State draft pick since 2010.

Named first-team All-Big Sky, Johnson was the fourth player in Weber State history to hoist conference DPOY honors, joining Brad Fosmark (2004), Scott Shields (1998) and Mike Humiston (1980).

Johnson was instrumental in turning around a Wildcats squad that went 2-10 in his freshman year and coach Jay Hill's first season, and a Big Sky champion and national semifinalist as a senior.

"We bought into what coach Hill was saying," Johnson told KSL Sports during the season. "He started from scratch, and we came together as a team the last four years."

Known as a cover specialist during his tenure at Weber State that saw the Wildcats go from bottom of the league to two Big Sky championships, Johnson also impressed in invitations to the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.

He posted a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, and added a 33-inch vertical jump and 118-inch broad jump.

NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein projects Johnson as a nickleback at the next level, adding that the Sacramento, California, native has the "foot quickness and cover talent to handle the job."

"He has to prove that he can play with confidence in his technique rather than grabbing during the route, and his draft stock could be hinging on his 40-yard dash time at the Combine," Zierlein said. "He could find an early role as a CB4 before eventually filling the nickel spot."

Johnson joins former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and Stanford defensive lineman Harrison Phillips as Buffalo draft picks.

Sean Walker

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Updated: Thursday November 15, 2018 5:36 am