DE Jermaine Johnson II, Florida St.

6’4″ – 259 lbs.

Background:

Originally attended Independence Community College before transferring to Georgia. Rotated into the defense over one year and went 20-3.0-2.5 as a 240-pound outside linebacker. Went 16-5.0-4.0 over seven games the following year before transferring to Florida St., where he put together a very impressive 70-17.5-11.5 line in his final year of eligibility.

Positives:

Made his senior year by far his most productive. Has added over twenty pounds of bulk and now possesses an excellent combination of height, length, and bulk for a pro edge rusher. Moved around on defense this past year, playing on both sides of the line and using different techniques; typically plays with his hand in the dirt, but also takes snaps out of two-point stances and kicks inside. Plays with physicality and energy. Functional strength is very good. Fires out of his stance with explosiveness and can walk back opposing linemen with his bull-rush, even when he kicks inside to tackle. Often plays in the backfield on rushing downs and should be a good fit for a two-gap scheme based on how he attacks blocks. Sets a hard edge. Plays with discipline when working on the backside. Flashes a nice closing burst when in position to make a stop, with a wide tackling radius to finish. Can be a threat on inside moves.

Negatives:

Flashes an impressive first step but reaction times to the ball being snapped are inconsistent. Technique is still a work in progress. Gets straight up out of his stance at times instead of firing out. Could get more consistent extension with his arms and keep his head up to locate. Turns his shoulders at times. A little bit stiff when trying to bend the edge; gets too deep and then tries to double back instead of making a smooth arc to the passer. Would like to see a little bit more hip and knee flexibility. Thus far, has more of a power/effort-based approach than a diverse repertoire of go-to rush moves. Can look lumbering in pursuit at times. May not have the fluidity or raw speed to work in coverage if drafted by a team with an odd defensive front.

Summary:

A big, physical, intense, and explosive defensive end who offers some positional/schematic versatility and the power to contribute in a two-gap scheme, but who is not quite as creative or flexible as some of the top pass rushers in this year’s class, and who consequently may strike teams as more of an edge-setter than blindside rusher.

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