40: 4.79 (Campus)
PROS: Shows a nice first step that flashes ability to challenge corner. Has experience playing with his hand off the ground, able to drop in coverage and move in space. Shows a decent counter move as a pass rusher. Plays with a high motor. Shows ability to play contain on the edge and make stop at the point of attack.
CONS: Not natural or smooth when's asked to work in space and coverage. Lacks ideal speed and burst. Needs work on stacking and shedding blockers.
OVERVIEW: Johnson is a bit of a tweener, but was one of the Rutgers top pass rushers and playmakers on defense. He led the team with 13.5 tackles for loss this past year, and finished second on the team with 6.5 sacks. He is a three-year starter that was productive. He's your typical Rutgers linemen, small, but has a high motor and manages to make an impact despite it.
NFL FORECAST: Johnson can play linebacker, but at this point I would say his best NFL potential as an end, if based off nothing than his size alone. He's experienced playing in space and I do think he might be a bit better as a pass rusher coming off the edge as a stand-up guy, but to play that position full-time he's better off slimming down. And with him approaching 270 pounds, his immediate future probably bodes better as an end in a 4-3 scheme. But his upside is really only as a situational guy there. He won't be a top pass rusher at the next level, not unless he makes significant improvements to his technique. He just lacks that great first step and burst off the edge to do it without good technique. But he's a high motor guy so even if he doesn't get more than 1 or 2 sacks a year off the bench, his coaches will like him and he'll contribute and work hard. As a linebacker, he's probably not athletic enough to be a starter because of his limitations in coverage. And he'd be more of a project there, but he could be a nice pass rusher off the edge in a 3-4 scheme that could add depth. If he can stick on special teams right away, I like his chances to get enough time to work and develop as a role player.
ATL FORECAST: I would compare Johnson to Lawrence Sidbury in terms of what I think he can do as a rookie and in the future. I don't think he's quite the athlete that Sidbury is so he doesn't really have as much upside. But he can come in right away and earn a practice squad spot for the Falcons because the coaches will like his motor and work ethic. Right now, the Falcons are probably too stacked at defensive end for him to make the roster. BUt he's a guy that could be worth keeping down the road to earn a spot as a fourth end in 2012 or beyond.
VALUE: It would be ideal to get him as an undrafted free agent because of his limited potential, but a team that is willing to be a bit patient with him wouldn't be mistaken by taking a flyer on him in the sixth or seventh round.
Scouting reports of defensive ends in the 2010 draft.
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