IB A.J. JOHNSON, TENNESSEE*

ajjohnson

6’2” – 243 lbs. – 4.80e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2011: 80 – 4.5 – 0.0, 1 FF, 2 FR
2012: 138 – 8.5 – 1.0 – 8 QBH – 1 FR, 1 PD (12-21-6 rushing)

OVERVIEW:

Started ten games at middle linebacker as a true freshman, appearing in twelve contests and finishing second on the team in tackles en route to being named an SEC All-Freshman Team selection. In 2012, he started all twelve games for the team, leading his team and conference in tackles and being named to the All-SEC Second Team by conference coaches; also rushed the ball out of Tennessee’s wildcat formation for six touchdowns. Was named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team by conference coaches prior to this year.

STRENGTHS:

•    Has plenty of experience, having been a three-year SEC starter.
•    Adequate size and bulk for a middle linebacker in a four-man front.
•    Frame is thick enough to potentially shift to a three-man front.
•    Plays with a low center of gravity and takes on blockers well for size.
•    Fights through trash well and can scrape down the line versus the run.
•    Powerful hitter who acts as an intimidating presence in the defense.
•    Plays with a high motor and will pursue plays farther than anticipated.
•    Overall recognition skills help mask some of his athletic deficiencies.
•    Can create pressure as an interior blitzer despite just one career sack.

WEAKNESSES:

•    Would need to add additional bulk in order to play in a 3-4 defense.
•    Not fast enough to recover easily when caught out of position.
•    Change-of-direction and lateral agility could become problems.
•    Occasionally gets lost in zone coverage, could be exploited in pros.
•    Lacks the speed to cover running backs and tight ends in man coverage.
•    May not be particularly well-suited to the modern makeup of the NFL.
•    Requires some projection schematically, as skills better suit 3-4 defense.

SUMMARY:

Productive, physical linebacker who plays like he belongs in a three-man front but whose college play has been as a 4-3 middle linebacker. Will likely have to bulk up and make the transition due to athletic limitations. RD 4-5

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