Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson will be entering the 2013 NFL Draft after a solid four-year career with the Boilermakers. He shined on an otherwise downtrodden team last season, defending 16 passes with three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Johnson will vie for a Day 3 selection in April, which is impressive in itself, considering that doctors once told him he would never walk again after suffering third-degree burns over 35 percent of his body as a child.
Johnson told his story to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was five years old, playing football in the hallways of his Florida home with his brother. Johnson's uncle was carrying a pot of boiling water to prepare a morning bath. The two boys tumbled into their uncle, who dropped the pot. Johnson was able to shove his brother out of the way, but couldn't save himself. He was sped to the hospital in a van with his grandmother crying near him.
Johnson quickly proved doctors wrong. Skin replacement surgery was successful, and a year later he was playing football and baseball again. Eventually he landed at Purdue, and now he has a chance now to make his mark in the NFL.
Johnson isn't considered an elite prospect. You won't find him on Dan Kadar's ranking of the top cornerback prospects in the 2013 Draft class. He could move up draft boards after running in the 4.4 range in the 40-yard dash during Purdue's Pro Day on Friday, however, improving on the 4.65 he ran at the Combine. At 5'9, 199 pounds, Johnson may not have the size and strength to match up with NFL receivers on the outside, but his agility and quickness could make him valuable in a nickel role.
Given what he has been through, Johnson isn't worried.
"It just always made me feel like I can overcome anything," Johnson said. "Playing football in front of thousands and thousands of fans, I'm never nervous. I just feel like it's something I have to overcome again."
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