Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Player Anatomy: DE Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech


Johnson is quickly rising up 2009 NFL draft boards. His combination of size, strength and speed are the perfect mix for NFL defensive coordinators. Although there are questions about his consistency and tendency to cramp-up, Johnson has the look of a potential top-5 pick.

Character / Leadership Ability: Because of Johnson’s limited playing time, he has been unable to be a team leader. However, he has stepped up greatly in 2008 and is asserting himself better on and off the field.

Competitive Nature / Work Ethic:
He’s very coachable; he has a great motor and is anxious to play well and please the coaches.

Football Intelligence:
Until 2008, Johnson was only used as a situational pass rusher. The early results in '08 show that he is a complete player, capable of stopping the run and rushing the passer.

Size: With his tremendous size, Johnson is an intimidating player at first glance.

Athletic Ability: He was recruited as a tight end out of high school. He has very big hands, long legs and is a great overall athlete, still growing into his body.

Toughness / Durability: He has experienced issues with cramping and fatigue but has no real injury history.

Quickness: Possesses a great initial burst. He’ll always be the first man off the line.

Strength: Has the strength to drive his blocker in to the backfield—a good bull rusher.

Instincts / Recognition: Johsnon needs to gain some experience here. He needs more reps in run situations to better understand blocking schemes and play-actions. He will go all out to get to the passer on every play. He has dropped into coverage some as a LE and showed good ability there.

Pass Rush: Plays right end for the Yellow Jackets and has a quick first move. He will go over, around, and through a blocker. He has natural speed and strength but needs to develop a counter move. Johnson is so quick that he causes tackles to constantly back pedal. Can easily counter to the

Pursuit: Shows good ability to pursue away from his side but will occasionally get caught in traffic if the play is to his side. Johnson does a good job of getting around outside contain and will come down the line in to pursue the ball when it’s run away from him. He’s too fast for quarterbacks to run away from and he takes great angles.

Run Defending: He’ll get in trouble coming off the ball too hard and running himself out of a play. He reads the draw play well and can find the rushing lane and attack it.

Tackling: Johnson falls on a lot of piles and isn't the force you'd expect. He comes off his blocks well and uses his hands to good effect.

Technique / Leverage:
Johnson aims for outside contain when he notices the ball is coming his way. He does a good job of keeping his outside arm free and driving the blocker but tends to come out high and flat-footed.

Photo Credit: Georgia Tech Sports Information