Earlier this offseason when the Buffalo Bills drafted LSU star cornerback Tre’Davious White in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, many assumed that the rookie would be the team’s number two cornerback this season. However, following some impressive performances from one Leonard Johnson so far in OTA’s and minicamp, that role could be in danger for White.
Playing for new Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott last season in Carolina, Johnson followed his former defensive coordinator to Buffalo this offseason. Impressing last season as a role player on the Panthers defense, Johnson has continued to leave his mark on the coaching staff thanks to his solid performances and now seems to be a shoe-in for a starting role in Buffalo this season.
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Speaking about Johnson and his overall toughness as a player, McDermott went as far to compare Johnson to a little known boxer known to some as Iron Mike.
“The thing that I love about Leonard is how tough he is, he’s like a little Tyson in terms of just the way he approaches the game. He gives us an edge on defense, which is important.”
Johnson seemed to like the comparison, especially since he grew up idolizing the boxer and his toughness relative to his overall size.
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“We’re both sort of short and stocky and aggressive. Mike Tyson was fearless. He knew every time he stepped in the ring, he was going to dominate somebody. So to be compared to that, that’s pretty good. But I have to uphold my part.”
Following the departure of former starter Stephon Gilmore to the rival New England Patriots this offseason, the Buffalo Bills had a big opening at the cornerback position. While Ronald Darby is the likely long term replacement for Gilmore, the team still needs to find an answer for the number two cornerback spot.
While one can assume that Tre’Davious White is the long term answer there, if he is not ready as of yet, then a short term solution will need to be found in order for the Buffalo Bills to be successful. That short term solution now looks to be Leonard Johnson.