Flashback to September. The New England Patriots brought in corner back Johnson Bademosi from the Detroit Lions for just a 2019 sixth-round draft pick. Originally Bademosi was acquired as a solution to the depth problem at corner. However, his niche on the team might have changed after the past few weeks. Injuries to Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe sent Bademosi to the starting lineup in Weeks 6 and 7, which will influence his role later on.
When the Patriots rolled into East Rutherford to take on the Jets, they did not know how Bademosi would perform. Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe, the number two and three cornerbacks, were both inactive going into Week 6 with injuries. Jonathan Jones took over operations as corner in nickel formation while Bademosi relieved Gilmore’s duties. After a 24-17 victory, Bademosi logged in five tackles, being present in the Patriots’ secondary for 96% of defensive snaps. That following Monday, Coach Belichick praised Bademosi on WEEI’s Dale & Holley with Rich Keefe.
“[He] did a great job for us”, Belichick reflected. “He played  plays on defense, 14 in the kicking game, and we really didn’t know that he was going to play until Saturday- defensively. To have a big role like that, it says a lot for for his preparation, and he came through for us.”
Johnson earned another starting nod this past weekend with Super Bowl 51 opponent Atlanta Falcons. He rose to the challenge of covering Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones, and posted a considerable first half:
Johnson Bademosi has stepped up in a big way so far tonight pic.twitter.com/2acevGsJa6
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 23, 2017
At the conclusion of the game Bademosi recorded seven tackles and a pass deflection, letting up only thirty one yards. For the second week in a row he stayed on the field for 96% of defensive snaps, tying Malcolm Butler. Bademosi’s one pass deflection came from a huge third down-and-short stop intended for Julio Jones.
“If you want to win games you have to be able to stop teams on third down, and everybody knows that”, Bademosi reflects. “We have to do that on defense.”
What’s to come for Johnson now that he is on the rise? The Patriots still are not in the clear, still having offensive powerhouses Raiders and Steelers left in their season. In a press conference on Tuesday, Belichick hinted on Bademosi’s future role:
“The guys that play the best play the most. The guys that don’t play as well continue to keep working until their performance either moves ahead of somebody else’s or they get an opportunity because of circumstances.”
As Gilmore and Rowe return from injury hopefully in the near future, the corner could still see an increase in reps after showing success. All the practice and preparation Johnson Bademosi has clocked in will not go unnoticed by Belichick. He will find a way to incorporate him more in the secondary, because he is potentially the next man up.