Charles Johnson put up monster numbers at Division II Grand Valley State.
Still, to eventually become the Green Bay Packers’ seventh-round draft pick – taken at No. 216 overall -- he’d need a big pro day. In front of 20 scouts, he was timed at 4.35 and 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash – he guaranteed he’d run faster than 4.40 -- with a 39.5-inch vertical jump.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Johnson’s first 40-yard time of 4.35 would have been fourth-best among all receivers – and fifth best overall - only behind the top time of 4.27 by Marquise Goodwin of Texas, followed by Tavon Austin of West Virginia and Ryan Swope of Texas A&M, both at 4.34. His second run of 4.38 seconds would have tied for eighth-fastest overall.
In two seasons at Grand Valley, he caught 138 passes for 2,229 yards (16.2 average), as both figures rank fifth on the school career-record list. His 31 scoring grabs are second in Lakers history. His 72 receptions as a senior rank fourth on the school season-record chart, while his receiving yards of 1,199 yards in 2012 and 1,030 in 2011 rank fourth and sixth, respectively.
Johnson enrolled at Eastern Kentucky in 2007, where he saw limited action in eleven games as a wide receiver. He was recruited to play in the defensive backfield but had just three catches for 63 yards. His time with the Colonels would soon come to an end. He and his roommate, a non-football player, were charged with having possession of a laptop that was missing from the computer room.
Johnson was suspended for one semester, but it would have cost him the football season. He decided to leave the university and enrolled at Antelope Valley Community College in California. He went home in 2009 and contacted Grand Valley coaches after doing a Google search for Division II football programs.
Grand Valley position coach Jack Ginn told Packer Report after Johnson’s pre-draft visit: “He’s [Johnson] got really good hands but he had some drops. He dropped some balls that he should have caught. Watching his film, they were probably concentration drops. He came here as a run-under-it guy — ‘Throw it deep and I’ll run under it.’ That’s not what we do. We throw it deep and like to have big, tall receivers go under it and catch it.
“So, he learned that here and came along nicely in that area. He’s coachable, he works hard. The guy didn’t miss a practice this past year and I don’t know if he missed a practice his whole time. He can play through some pain. He got hurt on a kickoff return — the opening kickoff — and I was worried. He dislocated a finger and they popped it back in and he went right back in. He’s more than just a numbers guy.”
At No. 224, the Packers drafted another receiver who took a pre-draft visit to Green Bay: Maryland’s Kevin Dorsey. Dorsey (6-2, 207) had a productive junior season of 45 catches, 573 yards and three touchdowns but had an abysmal senior campaign of 18 catches, 311 yards and four touchdowns. Dorsey’s hopes for a strong senior season were destroyed as Maryland went through five quarterbacks due to injuries – with the fifth being a converted linebacker.
“It was something that I don’t think has happened in football where your first-string, second-string, third-string and even your backup’s backup got hurt at quarterback,” Dorsey told Packer Report after his visit.
Dorsey ran 4.47 at his pro day.
With their final pick, No. 232, the Packers took South Florida linebacker Sam Barrington (6-1, 235). He was a three-year starter who earned second-team all-Big East honors as a senior. His senior totals of 80 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles improved his career marks to 258 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 21.5 tackles for losses and five forced fumbles. He was arrested in November for driving with a revoked license. It was the fourth time arrest for driving with a revoked or suspended license.
At the Scouting Combine, Barrington weighed 246 and ran just 4.91 with a 32.5-inch vertical. At pro day, he improved to 4.69 with a 37-inch vertical. The Packers said he weighs 235. He projects inside but has the ability to play outside, general manager Ted Thompson said.
“Athletic, he’s got good size. We were a little surprised that he was still available,” Thompson said. “We were able to speak to him at the Combine. He’s a very nice fellow and carries himself well. We think he’s a pretty good player and we thought he was a pretty good value.”