6’2” – 264 lbs. – 4.75e
2010: 40 – 4.5 – 1.0, 2 QBH (DE)
2011: 39 – 5.5 – 3.0, 3 QBH, 2FF
2012: 62 – 11.0 – 6.5, 8 QBH (OB)
2013: 79 – 13.0 – 7.0, 9 QBH, 3 PD, 1 INT
Started eleven of twelve games played in 2010, then all twelve in the following season. Was named to the all-conference second team in 2012 after transitioning to linebacker when the Pirates switched their defensive scheme to a 3-4, starting all thirteen games in that year and the following one.
• Will graduate having started the past forty-nine games at school; escalating production.
• Possesses terrific bulk for a rush linebacker; has added nearly fifty pounds since 2010.
• Experienced in 4-3 and 3-4 fronts; spent first two seasons in former, last two in latter.
• Plays with impressive power; when working downhill, can win with his power/bull rush.
• Capable of taking on blocks and making tackles away from his frame in run defense.
• A bit more athletic than anticipated from a player with his bulk; fairly quick accelerator.
• Has some experience in both man and zone coverage drops due to playing in a 3-4.
• High-motor player who gets involved in plenty of plays, demonstrating quality range.
• Exhibits an aggressive, physical on-field temperament that should impress his coaches.
• Ended up being just 6’1″ and 248 pounds at the Shrine Game, creating size concerns.
• Wasn’t very productive at defensive end, didn’t work his way onto the radar until 2012.
• Gets a little bit out of control at times and will overrun his spot, especially in coverage.
• Has the power to set a hard edge but tends to take wide angles, leaving gap for backs.
• Despite underrated athletic ability, is probably better as a rusher than he is in coverage.
Johnson has been a dangerous pass-rushing threat for the Pirates since the team transitioned to a 3-4 defense back in 2012, compiling 13.5 sacks and seventeen hurries over the past two years, dwarfing his production in either of the two seasons he played at defensive end. He arrived at school weighing just 218 pounds, but you’d never know it now given his impressive bulk and strength. While he has been asked to drop into coverage on occasion, he is at his best when he’s allowed to pin his ears back and use his explosiveness and power to create pressure. The raw power and physicality Johnson possesses suggest that he should be able to develop into an effective run defender, and while he is strong enough to anchor and make tackles away from his frame, he could do a better job of setting a tighter edge.