by Greg Gabriel, Buffalo Sports Page NFL Expert

Taron Johnson – Cornerback – Weber State

Size –5’11” – 192 lbs – 4.50 40 yard dash

Strong Points –Good athlete, quick with loose hips and good change of direction. Adequate deep speed. Can play man or zone and shows top cover skills versus FCS level players. Held his own in the Sr. Bowl. Has the suddenness needed to play corner in the NFL. Transitions quickly. Has very good ball reactions and ball skills. Plays the run well and is a sure tackler.

Weak Points –Plays at a lower level of comp. Not have a big frame and I doubt he can get any bigger. Will lose the matchup against big physical receivers. Doesn’t have the deep speed to consistently cover speed guys deep. While quick and sudden, he isn’t explosive.

Summation –Taron has been a starter since midway through his true freshman year. He shows dominating ability versus a lower level of comp. At 5’11 – 190, he is maxed out and I doubt he will get any bigger. Taron is a quicker than fast guy who with the hips, feet and suddenness needed to play against the smaller, quick receivers in the NFL. He can play man or zone equally well and has very good ball reactions and ball skills. Overall, he is best suited to play in the slot. Doesn’t have the speed or size to match up well if he has to play outside. Has the talent and instincts to eventually become a starting slot corner. Coming from the FCS level he will need a year to adjust to the NFL game but the upside is there. His floor is that he is not better than a clubs fourth corner.

Greg Gabriel

Gabriel has spent most of his adult life as an evaluator for various NFL clubs. He started his career in 1991 working for the Buffalo Bills as a part time scout under dormer Bills Director of Player Personnel Norm Pollom. He left the Bills in June 1984 to become the Great Lakes area scout for National Football Scouting. Following the 1984 season, Gabriel joined the New York Giants as their Midwest area scout and was promoted to Director of Player Development in 1996. The Giants went to three Super Bowls and won two during Gabriel’s time with the club.

Following the Giants appearance versus the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, Greg became Director of College Scouting for the Chicago Bears under General Manager Jerry Angelo. He held that position until June of 2010. During his time with Chicago, the Bears won three Division titles and the 2006 NFC Championship. In his nine Drafts with the Bears, the team drafted 12 future Pro Bowl performers such perennial Pro Bowler Matt Forte, Tommie Harris, Devin Hester, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman.

In the 2012 – 2013 season, Gabriel was a consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles Scouting Department and has since done some small scouting roles for various NFL clubs.

Since leaving the NFL Gabriel has been a contributor for the National Football Post, the Bleacher Report and more recently Pro Football Weekly. He also is both a writer and contributor for WSCR (670the Score) in Chicago. The last three years he has authored the Pro Football Weekly Draft Guide.
Gabriel grew up in Amherst and is a 1974 graduate of Canisius College where he was a member of the football team. He and his wife Robin currently resides in the Chicago area.

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