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Who is John Johnson III? 5 things to know about the Cleveland Browns' new safety

According to multiple reports, the Cleveland Browns have agreed to a 3-year deal with former Los Angeles Rams safety John Johnson III.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from March 15, 2021.

According to Mike Garofolo of the NFL Network, the Cleveland Browns have agreed to three-year contract with free agent safety John Johnson III.

RELATED: More Cleveland Browns coverage from WKYC

What follows are five things to know about the Browns' new safety, who figures to play a prominent role in improving Cleveland's defense in 2021.

Covers it all

First things -- and football -- first. 

When it comes to how Johnson will improve the Browns, here's what you need to know: according to Pro Football Focus, the 25-year-old ranked as the third-best safety in all of the NFL in 2020, as well as the third-best player at his position in coverage. That should help boost a Cleveland pass defense that ranked 27th in the league last season.

Johnson's prowess as one of the best coverage safeties in the NFL made him one of the most coveted free agents on the market this offseason. His value, however, doesn't stop there.

Jack of all trades

While Johnson is officially listed as a free safety, that's not necessarily an accurate description of the role he played in Los Angeles. Throughout his time with the Rams, the 2017 third-round pick lined up at not just every position in the secondary, but as well as at linebacker and even on the defensive line.

Furthermore, Johnson served as a captain of Los Angeles' defense in 2020 and wore the green dot on his helmet, which allowed him to be the one player of the unit to communicate with the team's coaches via headset while on the field. Despite his youth, Johnson was clearly viewed as one of the leaders of the Rams defense, which ranked first in pass defense in 2020.

Right place, right time

While Johnson's career stat line is impressive in and of itself -- he has tallied 32 pass defenses and eight interceptions in four seasons -- that doesn't tell the full story of the impact he's made for the Rams. Unfortunately for Browns fans, they know that as well as anyone, as it was Johnson's fourth-quarter interception that sealed a Los Angeles win over Cleveland in Week 3 of the 2019 season.

Additionally, Johnson's overtime interception of Drew Brees in the 2018 NFC Championship Game helped set up the game-winning drive that would send the Rams to Super Bowl 53. For a Browns defense that seemed to rarely have someone other than Myles Garrett make the right play at the right time, Johnson will be a welcome addition.

2-star recruit

Despite being one of the most coveted players in this year's free-agent class, Johnson isn't used to being highly sought after. In high school, the Hyattsville, Maryland, native was a 2-star recruit -- the lowest ranking recruiting services typically label players.

Nevertheless, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety's work on the camp circuit earned him multiple Division 1 offers, including invites to play for Ohio University, Lehigh, Buffalo and Bucknell. He ultimately opted to accept a scholarship to Boston College, where he was recruited by now-Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington.

Fly Eagles, fly

While he arrived at Boston College as an unheralded recruit, it didn't take for Johnson to make an impact for the Eagles. As a true freshman, he earned playing time as a cornerback and on special teams, before becoming a full-time starting safety in his junior season.

Much like in the NFL, Johnson was a jack of all trades for Boston College, playing both safety spots and cornerback throughout his college career. He also played a key role in turning around a program that had gone 2-10 the year before he arrived and that ultimately amassed three winning seasons and bowl game appearances throughout his four years on campus.

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