Giants Sign Ball Hawk DB to 6-Figure Guarantee

Giants sign UCLA defensive back Alex Johnson as post-NFL draft UDFA.

Getty The New York Giants have agreed to terms with UCLA defensive back Alex Johnson as a post-NFL draft UDFA.

The New York Giants kicked off their undrafted free agent class with a UCLA defensive back that was a turnover machine in 2023.

“Former UCLA defensive back Alex Johnson will sign with the New York Giants,” relayed UCLA reporter James H. Williams after the conclusion of the NFL draft. The Talkin’ Giants podcast quickly added that Johnson registered five interceptions in 2023 during a repost.

This news was also confirmed by KPRC2 NFL insider Aaron Wilson, who provided key context on this UDFA addition. “UCLA DB Alex Johnson signed with [the] Giants for $115,000 total guaranteed per a source,” he informed.

To explain, most undrafted prospects aren’t guaranteed any money, let alone a six-figure agreement. Those that do get paid are typically bid on by multiple suitors.

Johnson falls under that description, and the Giants must have really wanted him if they shelled out $115,000 just to get him in the building.

New Giants DB Alex Johnson Led Pac-12 in Interceptions Amid Breakout 2023 Campaign

As mentioned in the open, Johnson’s 2023 campaign included five interceptions and a fumble recovery for a touchdown against Caleb Williams’ USC Trojans (pictured above). This was easily a career season for the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back.

At his pro day, Johnson ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash with a 37-inch vertical and a 10-foot and seven inches broad jump. He ran a 7.00-second three-cone drill.

According to the UCLA website, Johnson was more of a rotational DB and special teamer up until the 2023 season. Last year, he started eight out of his 13 appearances and “led the Pac-12 in interceptions.”

That interception total was also tied for sixth highest in the entire NCAA and “was the most by a Bruin player since 2009.”

Among Johnson’s accolades were an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection by the league coaches, a PFF mid-season All-America selection, a season-high six tackles in games at USC and versus Arizona State, a two-interception game during a victory at San Diego State and a blocked punt in the win at Stanford.

Outside of the turnovers, ESPN credited Johnson with three pass breakups on the season. He appears to profile as more of a cornerback than a safety.

Giants Select CB Andru Phillips in Round 3 of NFL Draft

Speaking of the cornerback position, the Giants also drafted Kentucky CB Andru Phillips at pick No. 70 overall. For clarity, this selection occurred in round three.

“Declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season in 2023, [Phillips is a] three-year letterwinner who played in 38 career games with 16 starts for the Wildcats,” stated. “[Phillips] totaled 82 career tackles along with 10 pass breakups and 3.0 tackles for loss.”

At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Bleacher Report scout Cory Giddings voiced that “Phillips will need to rely on his special teams experience and ability early in his NFL career to stick around.”

“He best looks to fit in a zone scheme where he has help either on top or is able to play deep and keep his cushion on top of routes,” Giddings added, and NFL Network expert Lance Zierlein echoed this sentiment as well.

“Phillips’ tape features a high number of both completions and drops that should have been completions, but that could change in a different scheme and with additional experience,” Zierlein scouted ahead of the draft. “He’s still green, with just two years of real game experience, and often played too loose in Kentucky’s zone cover schemes.”

“He’s an ardent run supporter with excellent toughness but needs to finish tackles at a higher rate,” the NFL Network analyst also relayed. “Scheme fit might be critical, along with proving he can play from the slot, but his best football could be ahead of him.”

Johnson and Phillips will join an NYG secondary that should have a lot of spots up for grabs in 2024 training camp.

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