Trumaine Johnson Could Be Logical Second-Round Fit for Patriots to Upgrade Defensive Backfield

Trumaine Johnson Could Be Logical Second-Round Fit for Patriots to Upgrade Defensive BackfieldBy now, the book is out on the draft's big-name cornerback prospects, but there's a small-school guy who could provide some really nice long-term value in the second round.

If the Patriots are interested in adding more potential to the position, they may look toward Montana's Trumaine Johnson.

Johnson is the focus of the final installment of a 26-day series that will highlight draft prospects who could land with the Patriots at the end of April. Maybe the prospect fits perfectly in the range of their 27th and 31st picks. Maybe he's intriguing enough for them to make a rare move up the board. Or maybe it's a player who could be available in the mid-30s, causing the Patriots to, gasp, trade down.

Key Stats

The 6-foot-2, 204-pounder had 15 interceptions and 36 pass deflections as a four-year starter.

Why the Patriots Would Want Him

Johnson is a big, strong cover corner who can make plays on the ball due to his prior experience as a wide receiver, and he dominated in the FCS. Teams will like him because of his size and potential, and it's been mentioned he could possibly move to safety, too.

Why the Patriots Might Stay Away

There will be an adjustment period for Johnson because he played at a lower level of college ball, so the Patriots have to be confident in their ability to develop the cornerback.

Potential Impact in 2012

Johnson would compete for a starting role along with Devin McCourty, Ras-I Dowling and Kyle Arrington, though Johnson's development might keep him on the sideline for a little while. Of course, that could all change if McCourty or Dowling gets moved to safety.

Likelihood Johnson Is Available at No. 27

Johnson is most often projected as a second-round prospect, so there's no doubt he'll be around at No. 27 unless the Lions make a huge reach for him at No. 23. The Patriots might make a play for Johnson at No. 31 or in the top half of the second round if they make a trade.

Each day in April, NESN.com will spotlight a player the Patriots could take with one of their first-round picks.

Wednesday: Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

Photo via Facebook/Trumaine Johnson

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