Officially adding sought-after speed to their defense, the Green Bay Packers have signed Louisville cornerback Chris Johnson, a seventh-round selection in the 2003 NFL draft, to a multi-year contract, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced Tuesday.
Described as "fast, fast, fast – and inexperienced" by Bob Slowik, the Packers assistant head coach/defensive backs, Johnson reportedly was the fastest player in the draft, a designation he underscored by repeatedly shadowing receivers with ease during the Green and Gold's two post-draft mini-camps.
The 5-11, 195-pound Gladewater, Texas, native timed at a mercurial 4.23 seconds in the 40-yard dash, was a two-year letter winner at Louisville – after transferring from Blinn (Junior) College, located in Brenham, Texas – and started seven games as a senior. Playing 26 games overall, with eight starts, he posted 44 total tackles (32 solo), 1 tackle for loss and was credited with 7 passes defensed.
Playing in all of Louisville's 13 games in 2002, Johnson became a defensive presence in the latter stages of the season, earning a starting corner slot in seven of the last eight contests. He also was a standout on both the punt and kickoff coverage units, which ranked among the nation's best.
Earlier a three-year starter in the secondary at Pinetree (Longview, Texas) High School, Johnson was an All-America selection as a senior after picking off 12 passes in his final prep season. Additionally a three-year track letterman, he was a regional competitor in the 200-meter dash, 4x100 relay, long jump and triple jump.
Johnson is the fourth of the Packers' nine 2003 draft selections to be signed. He joins defensive tackle James Lee of Oregon State, a fifth-round selection; 6-9 offensive tackle Brennan Curtin of Notre Dame, a sixth-round choice; and wide receiver/kick returner DeAndrew Rubin of South Florida, the Packers' second pick in the seventh round.