Johnson, Waller impress at rookie minicamps

Former Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson has caught the attention of NFL teams following his strong showing at the Tech pro day last Friday. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Former Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson was judged to have “a pretty good upside” by Lions coach Jim Caldwell, whose team made Johnson a priority free agent following the draft. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Former Georgia Tech safety Isaiah Johnson and wide receiver Darren Waller received positive reports after their rookie minicamps, although presumably they’d have to try pretty hard for their coaches to criticize them publicly after their first couple days on the job.

“I think with him, he’s got range and ability and is smart,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of Johnson. “I think he’s got a pretty good upside.”

MLive reported that Johnson was lined up at free safety (he played strong safety at Tech) and was heavily involved on special teams during the Lions’ minicamp and also that Johnson received a $12,000 signing bonus, one of the highest that the team handed out to its undrafted free agents. The website also quoted Johnson as saying that Lions safety James Ihedigbo’s contract dispute entered into his thinking when he was choosing a team after the draft ended.

“Just looking at the opportunity,” he said. “Everyone knows we’re coming in and trying to fight for theirs, and it’s just the game of football. It’s a business now. So I got to be a business.”

At the Baltimore Ravens’ rookie minicamp this past weekend, Waller caught a number of passes over Ravens defensive backs, using his 6-foot-6 height, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“Playing receiver is new to me. I’m, by no means, a master of what I’m doing,” Waller said. “I go out there every day with the mindset of getting better. I feel like I’m going to be there soon.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh: “He has good catch radius. We saw it on tape, we saw it in the workout, but now to see it here on our field is the confirmation (of) how well he moves for a big man. Now, he doesn’t move like a 5-foot-9 receiver. He’s long, he’s fast, he gets in and out of breaks exceptionally well. He can snatch the ball. So we’ll see where it goes from here, but so far, so good.”

The Sun reported that Waller received a $111,096 signing bonus, making his four-year contract worth a potential $2.39 million.

The player signed in the same slot (204th overall) receiving a signing bonus worth $96,600. The NFL salary increased from $133 million in 2014 to $143 million for 2015.


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