Football

Taron Johnson becomes Sheldon's first NFL draft pick. Why his new team was a surprise

Taron Johnson became the first Sheldon High School athlete drafted into the NFL when the Buffalo Bills selected the cornerback in the fourth round on Saturday, April 28, 2018.
Taron Johnson became the first Sheldon High School athlete drafted into the NFL when the Buffalo Bills selected the cornerback in the fourth round on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Weber State Athletics

Taron Johnson had only one scholarship offer coming out of Sheldon High School.

Now the Weber State cornerback appears to be in position to compete for a starting job in the NFL.

Johnson became Sheldon's first NFL draft pick and the Sacramento area's second this year when the Buffalo Bills selected him in the fourth round at No. 121 overall on Saturday.

He had been projected to go as high as the fourth round, but he reportedly had "no contact" with the Bills before the draft. In fact, he told Buffalo media after being selected that he hadn't heard from the Bills until "20 minutes" before being picked.

Johnson, at 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, is expected to compete for the slot cornerback role that was vacated when the team did not re-sign Leonard Johnson. He'll vie for snaps with Phillip Gaines, whom the Bills signed in March.

Before playing in the Senior Bowl in January, Johnson spoke highly of his time at Weber State in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.

"Going to Weber State, it all worked out perfectly," said Johnson, who had an offer from Sacramento State rescinded after a spell without a commitment. "If I were to do it all over again, I’d do it this way. My dream was to play in college and to play beyond college, and I have that chance.”

Johnson's 42 career pass breakups are a Weber State record. In 2017, he earned unanimous First-Team All-America honors in the Football Championship Subdivision and was the Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

As a senior team captain, Johnson played a key part in the Wildcats winning a school-record 11 games in 2017 and two FCS playoff games.

“Taron has a chip on his shoulder, and always had one,” Josh Crabtree, Johnson’s varsity coach at Sheldon when he pulled him up to varsity as a sophomore in 2011, told The Bee in January.

Roseville's Kolton Miller, an offensive tackle out of UCLA, was drafted in the first round, No. 15 overall, by the Raiders on Thursday.

The 49ers signed receiver Ross Dwelley, an Oak Ridge High product who caught 20 touchdown passes at the University of San Diego the last two seasons, as an undrafted free agent.

Hawaii receiver Trayvon Henderson of Grant High also received an undrafted free agent deal from the Cincinnati Bengals.

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