In Whittingham's mind, Johnson fell because of medical concerns. Johnson has undergone three shoulder surgeries in his football career, including one to repair a torn labrum in March.
"I don't think there's any doubt that had that history of shoulder surgeries not been there, he would've been in the top 15 in my opinion," Whittingham said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Monday.
"I think that's the kind of ability that he has."
Whittingham realized Johnson was going to be a special player when he first recruited him to Utah, as Johnson outlined a plan to graduate in three years and enter the NFL after his junior season. He followed through on that.
Johnson earned first-team all-Pac-12 honors at Utah in 2018 and 2019 and was a key part of the Utes' stifling defense.
The Bears drafted Johnson with the belief that he can solidify the cornerback position opposite of Kyle Fuller for the future.
"They got a great one," Whittingham said. "He's really the whole package as a corner. He's got excellent size. He's a 6-footer, close to 200 pounds, so he can match up with the bigger receivers. He's got fluid hips, great speed, ball skills are outstanding, and his football IQ is off the charts. He's one of the smartest kids that's ever come through our program.
"He's a guy who really has no weaknesses. He's got a great skill set, and I think he's going to be a very good player for the Bears."