Crunch Time - Bucs Target #2

Another player whom we have been showing a lot of interest in, is Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson.  Johnson is a physical freak of nature at 6’7″ 265 lbs.  For all the knock on the guy taking plays off during the 2008 college football season, he was quite productive with 17.5 tackles for loss, and 9 sacks.  There is a lot of talk about how his motor doesn’t run all the time, but he has been trying to refute those rumors over the past few weeks.  He wowed scouts at his pro day, running anywhere from 4.49 to 4.60 depending on which stopwatch you believe.  Regardless, a guy that big shouldn’t be running that fast, even if it is a 4.6.  

My only concern with Johnson, is that he seems to be a mirror image of Gaines Adams (Gaines is about an inch and a half shorter) as far as size is concerned, and the same questions plagued Adams when the Bucs drafted him.  In my estimation, two non-bulldozing, rushing, speed ends on the outside would still need the clog from the two interior dlineman to be effective, and we still wouldn’t have those players to have both Gaines and Johnson excel.  If we were able to add another big body to pair along with Ryan Sims, Michael Johnson and Gaines could potentially have some success rushing off the edges.  

Eugene Monroe (probable top 5 selection this year), whom Johnson beat for 2 tackles for a loss, 1 sack and a forced fumble during one of their games last season, said Johnson was the best DE he ever faced, and that included DE Chris Long who was the 2nd pick in last years draft.  

From NFL Draft Package

Michael Johnson continued to specialize as a pass rusher in 2007, playing in all 13 games but starting just once. He recorded 21 total tackles and four sacks. He forced three fumbles, tying for seventh-best in the ACC. His two blocked kicks were the team high for Georgia Tech. His breakout game came in a losing effort against Virginia Tech, when he had seven total tackles, two sacks and blocked a kick.
Michael Johnson became a starter in 2008, recording a career high 46 total tackles. His 9.0 sacks led the team, and he led the Yellow Jackets with 17.5 tackles for loss. He had a career-high 4.5 tackles for loss against Gardner-Webb, but committed a personal foul penalty that negated a missed field goal and led to a Gardner-Webb touchdown. He was a first team All-ACC selection after the season, one of two Georgia Tech defensive players to earn that honor. In his final college game, Johnson had two sacks in Georgia Tech’s loss to LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. 
Defensive End specific Traits
Agility/Quickness 1  

Explosive first step and changes directions well when attacking upfield. Fluid in space and excelled at cover drills at the Combine.


Strength/Toughness 4  

Very good upper body strength and does a good job of extending long arms once locked on but shows marginal lower body strength on film. Though flashes the ability to deliver the big hit doesn’t play with nearly enough of a mean streak. Takes too many plays off and mental toughness is a concern.


Instincts 4  

Takes too long to locate the ball and gets caught too far upfield too much. Can get drawn off-sides by hard counts. Doesn’t show a great understanding of blocking angles and can get sealed inside by tight ends blocking down. Too aggressive collapsing inside at times and can get caught out of position on bootlegs. Appears lost at times during 2008 Virginia Tech game.


Pass Rusher 1  

Quick enough to turn the corner at the NFL level, he closes well and can deliver the big hit. Can set tackles up to the outside before redirecting inside and flashes an effective rip move. Has long arms, excellent leaping ability and can tip passes when doesn’t get to the quarterback. Has some experience rushing the passer out of a two-point stance. (See 2008 Virginia Tech game) Doesn’t an adequate job of driving legs but isn’t a powerful bull rusher that can consistently collapse the pocket.


Run Stopper 3  

Plays too high and gets driven off the ball too much. While has adequate bulk has a slender frame so there’s reason to believe will still have problems anchoring against the run if moved to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Sideline-to-sideline run defender that takes adequate angles to the ball and shows great range at times but gears down too much. At times appears more interested in blindsiding offensive linemen than getting to the ball. (see first quarter of the 2007 Virginia game)


Trait Scale
1 = Exceptional 2 = Above average 3 = Average 4 = Below average 5 = Marginal

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Tags: Chris Long Eugene Monroe Gaines Adams Michael Johnson

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