Bronco Nation waited with bated breath for Ian Johnson’s name to be called on the second day of the 2009 NFL Draft. After 256 picks and many less than exciting hours, Ian Johnson's name was never called.
Earlier in the day it was announced that Ian had backed out of being followed around by ESPN cameras. Looking back on that announcement it would appear it foreshadowed the day's outcome.
Of all the players that were part of the historic 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma, no player was more highly regarded by Bronco Nation than Ian Johnson. In the 2007 NFL Draft the names of Gerald Alexander, Legedu Naanee, Korey Hall, Derek Schouman were called.
The following year underclassmen Ryan Clady and Orlando Scandrick had their names called in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Ian having one more year of college eligibility finished out his Senior season with the Broncos. During the season Ian worked on polishing himself as a player, by taking on special teams duties, catching the ball out of the back field and blocking techniques.
To top off his career he passed LaDainian Tomlinson and Marshall Faulk as the WAC’s all-time touchdown leader.
In the months following Ian took part in the NFL Draft Combine. Ian who showed up to the combine measuring 5-foot-11 and weighing 212 pounds, posted timing of 4.45 in the 40 and completed 26 reps on the bench. Certainly catching the eye of many scouts.
Ian also displayed great character throughout his college career that included being open to the media, suffering through life threatening injuries and graduating from BSU this past year.
Clearly I am not part of an NFL draft and nor have I scouted players. What I can tell you is of all the players from the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win, Ian Johnson played a big part the Broncos undefeated season.
Of the six that were drafted from that team, not one player, coach or fan would have thought No. 41 would not have his named called.
I am disappointed in the NFL for not recognizing what Ian could bring to a franchise. At the same time Bronco Nation wishes all the best for Ian and has no doubt Ian will prove to the NFL he belongs.
***Update Chad Cripe is reporting that Ian and former Bronco WR Vinny Peretta have signed free agent contracts with the Minnesota Vikings. I am sure there is more to come.***