The Broncos scored two new safeties in Round 5 of the NFL Draft yesterday. Texas’ Caden Sterns (pick 152) and Indiana’s Jamar Johnson (pick 164) are heading to Denver and they met with the press last night to talk about it.
Sterns opted out of the 2020 season, though not for reasons related to COVID-19.
“My decision to opt out was based off of the fact that I had a toe injury that I was dealing with,” he explained. “I wanted to get it cleared up and fixed before the Pro Day happened so that teams could see me at 100 percent.”
Sterns also said he looks up to Justin Simmons and watched his film all the time.
“He has a lot of range and is versatile as well. He’s in the box a lot. You can just put him anywhere and he is going to be around the football,” he said. “I’m blessed to be able to have somebody in front of me like that to be a mentor to me.”
See Ball Get Ball❗️ https://t.co/0bfbjVRgPf— Jamar Johnson (@jamarjohnson568) May 1, 2021
He recognizes his room for improvement in the tackling area, but he’s confident that he can clean it up.
“I have range,” he said. “I make plays on the ball and I can cover. I think I’m really versatile as well. I can come down and play man, I can play one-high or two-high, and I can just be around the ball.”
Sterns played under two different defensive coordinators in college and said that Todd Orlando had a pretty complex system, while Chris Ash kept it a lot simpler.
“I’m grateful to have played for both of them,” he said. “They helped me expand my knowledge on football and be more versatile as well.”
Jamar Johnson said that while he’s a ball hawk, he knows he needs to clean up his tackling.
“Everything else is see-ball, get-ball,” he said. “I’m just going out to get as many picks and to get the ball back for the offense. It gives our team a better chance to win.”
Speaking on his ball-hawking skills, Johnson explained that for a defensive back the ball is the most important focus.
“You’re supposed to go in there and not allow a single catch,” he elaborated. “If anything touches my hands, I’m trying to come down with a pick.”
Jamar Johnson: 31.7 passer rating allowed since 2019— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 27, 2021
1st among draft-eligible safeties pic.twitter.com/mHJuHsf0ih
Much like Sterns, Johnson looks up to Justin Simmons and watches his tape as well as that of Kareem Jackson.
“I‘m just going to go in there and learn from those guys as much as I can—take notes and one day hopefully be in their position,” Johnson said.
Denver’s two newest safeties aren’t strangers to one another, either. It sounds like a good camaraderie could be built up with the two, considering Johnson said that he and Sterns grew close during combine training.
“We’re all in a group chat texting Caden congratulations,” he added. “We already had a brotherhood in Arizona, but we are about to take it to Denver now.”