The Seahawks have agreed to terms with former Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson.
Johnson was once a highly touted recruit and Heisman hopeful for the Aggies - as a junior in 2009, Johnson threw for 3,579 yards in 13 games, completing 296 for 497 passes (59%) for 30 touchdowns to 8 interceptions and adding 506 yards on the ground to end up with over 4,000 yards total offense. Following that year though, Johnson was forced to get shoulder surgery and as a result, he lost a lot of his velocity and accuracy on his passes, according to the reports I've seen. He subsequently struggled in the 2010 season and lost his job to eventual first-round pick Ryan Tannehill. He went undrafted in 2011 and after bouncing around a bit, ended up out of the league. In 2012, he lasted until the final day of Steelers training camp before being released.
He's making a comeback attempt though, and it looks like he's sticking with his dream of being a QB. He's reconstructed his throwing motion, according to a profile over at ESPN's SEC blog. He said:
"I just really wanted to show them that I have a brand new throwing motion, it's completely different how the ball is spinning out of my hand, I'm throwing it strong and I can make every throw with ease and arm strength is one of my strengths, not one of my weaknesses," Johnson said. "So hopefully they saw that and couple that with my off-field and leadership ability and understanding of football and offenses, I feel that I've got what it takes. I think I can be a productive player in the league. So hopefully somebody else feels the same way."
"I'm in the best shape of my life, I'm throwing the ball better than I ever have," he said. "It's just a matter of getting those opportunities now."
"Unfortunately, when I went to the combine [in 2011], I was a shell of myself," Johnson said. "I put a lot out there on tape. So hopefully guys will have an open mind to seeing me again and seeing that I'm completely different now and that I'm even better than I was my junior year. We'll see.
"I think I'll get another opportunity, because I think I definitely have the skill set to be successful in the NFL."
As for his struggles following his career-altering shoulder surgery, which included a stint in the UFL and Arena League (he was the number one overall pick in that league), he's remained determined.
"It's humbling, to say the least. To get football taken away, when you have expectations to be in a certain place, having friends that are having tremendous success -- Colin Kaepernick was my roommate at the Manning Camp. There's so many guys in the league that I'm friends with that ... at one point, we were equal, and I kind of got hurt and things kind of went south. For me, it's keeping that mental toughness and that belief in myself, that I still have that same talent, I just have to get in the right situation and right opportunity and put in the work to get back to that."
For what it's worth, several reports I could find have described that he looked great at TAMU's pro day. Lance Zierlein, a very respected and well connected evaluator, was one of the writers to make note of it recently.
Former Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson was throwing to wideouts and running backs during the pro day and the zip on his passes was noticeable. Johnson suffered a shoulder injury while in college that took awhile for him to recover from, but Johnson's arm strength and accuracy looked pretty solid to my eyes.
Brett Zwernamen, reporting on the day, wrote a similar account:
Quarterback Jerrod Johnson, whose eligibility wrapped up two years ago, threw passes to the receivers and showed considerable arm strength, especially in comparison to his last season at A&M, when he struggled with a shoulder injury. Toward the end of Pro Day Johnson was launching 70-yard bombs. The Steelers cut Johnson in training camp last summer.
Regardless, it's a no-risk, possible high-upside move by the Hawks and the 6'5, 251 pound quarterback certainly has the athleticism to run some of the things Seattle may be looking to get into this year, in terms of the read option and pistol formations. He's a physical specimen - 34.75" arms and nearly 10" hands - and he ran the 40 in 4.75 at the Combine, with a 9'11" broad jump.