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May 07, 2012

Cowboys like fourth-round safety's habit of creating turnovers in college

One of the reasons the Cowboys liked safety Matt Johnson is that he created turnovers at Eastern Washington – 15 interceptions and five forced fumbles.

“The ball skills with all the interceptions he had in college, you always like that,” secondary coach Jerome Henderson said. “Guys who defend the deep part of the field are secondary coaches’ friends. I like those guys. Guys who get interceptions, I like. He’s one of those guys. He’s proved he can do that.”

Johnson gave a good accounting of himself last weekend during the rookie minicamp at Valley Ranch.

“He’s a smart kid,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. “He’s got great ball skills. We are really excited about him. I think he’s going to be good. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s a twin like me, so I think he will be good.”

Johnson said he looks for turnover chances, but he’s not getting ahead of himself right now.

“Obviously I know that’s going to be hard in the NFL, but that’s my job as a defender, to make turnovers and make plays, get the ball back to the offense,” he said. “That’s a huge part of the game.”

Henderson said two of Johnson’s strengths are intelligence and work ethic.

“I think he’ll be a gym rat here,” he said. “He’ll be one of those who’s around here watching tape and lifting weights and doing things like that, making himself better.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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