With the final pick in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys continued to focus on their defense, taking Eastern Washington SS Matt Johnson with the No. 135 pick.
The Cowboys went deep into the weeds to find Johnson, an FCS player who missed most of his senior season after tearing a biceps tendon in his left shoulder. Dallas has had a fairly mixed bag with small-school players recently, so Johnson will be viewed skeptically until he can prove himself on the pro level.
Johnson, who red-shirted in 2007, was a four-year starter at Eastern Washington, and he was one of the defensive leaders on a team that won the 2010 FCS championship.
At 6'0 210 with a 4.5 40, he should contribute immediately on special teams, but it remains to be seen whether he can be a difference maker in the secondary.
An except from Pro Football Weekly's scouting report on Johnson:
Good-sized with a well-proportioned, toned build, Johnson is a tough, competitive, coachable strong safety with good linear athletic ability. Plays with and trusts his eyes. Drops downhill and supports the run aggressively - gets proper fits, runs the alley and takes effective angles. Effective in halves or thirds, can run with tight ends and has good hands to intercept (17 career interceptions). Smart, experienced four-year starter who made secondary calls. Struggles to man up receivers and shows average range and change of direction. Is not a violent striker and misses some tackles when he isn't under control. Character player with a professional approach who has an intangible makeup and athletic skill set to make a roster and contribute on special teams.
A lengthy highlight reel from Johnson's junior and senior seasons: