Skip to main content

Jimmy Johnson Had 1 Main Priority During Pro Days

Jimmy Johnson at the NFC Championship Game.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: TV personality Jimmy Johnson looks on prior to the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

During his two stints as an NFL head coach, Jimmy Johnson had plenty of success on the field and in the annual draft.

When Johnson was with the Dallas Cowboys, he picked Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Russell Maryland in the first round, and later with the Miami Dolphins, found star cornerbacks Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain in the second round and drafted future Hall of Fame pass rusher Jason Taylor in the third round.

If you're scoring at home, that's not a bad resume. Of course, Johnson used Pro Days as part of his player evaluation process leading up to those drafts, but the most important aspect of those trips weren't the workouts themselves.

On "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" Monday, Johnson explained that the key to Pro Days for him was getting to know players on a deeper level.

"The most important thing to me on Pro Days was getting to know these players personally," Johnson said. "I didn't want to draft anyone with a high pick unless I've been around them."

It certainly seems like Johnson did a good job at that over the years. His track record speaks for itself.

Ultimately, the best way to draft is probably to combine using what you see and hear at Pro Days and combines with what you observe from players on tape and during in-person scouting trips. Whichever teams do that the best usually wind up with the best draft hauls.

This year's NFL Draft is set for April 29-May 1.