Latest Addition To The Practice Squad Has Upside
Lost in the hysteria surrounding QB Matt Cassel’s appendectomy was the signing of a one time top MLB prospect, Micah Johnson, to the practice squad. Now I’m no Merlin, but I am a draft fanatic and every year I love to pour over all the different prospects, especially at positions of need for the Kansas City Chiefs.
This year I was very intrigued by the 6-1 258 lb linebacker out of Kentucky. When looking at the Chiefs roster I didn’t see (and still don’t) a run stopping “thumper” at linebacker. Last season I hoped Corey Mays might be that guy, but I have now given up all hope on that front. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jevon Belcher, but he’s undersized to play the roll of run stuffer in the 3-4.
Johnson was one of the only players in the draft that fit that mold. He was first team All SEC as a Junior and was told he’d be a mid round pick had he come out that year. He decided to come back for his senior season and despite recording 105 tackles he was plagued by knee injuries. This was not the first time Johnson had knee problems, thus “red flagging” him for many NFL teams. To make matters worse, in the Wildcats bowl game he suffered a torn MCL. He missed the “all star” games but did rehab fast enough for his senior day and the combine. His 31 bench press reps was the third highest of all LBs in the draft. However, on his rehabbed knee the best 40 time he could muster was a 4.84 at his pro day.
After being predicted by some to be as high as a 2-3 round pick before his senior season he went completely undrafted due to the knee issues and slow 40 time. He may never catch on with the Chiefs, but I am once again intrigued by his upside. Seeing him take Corey Mays spot on the 53 man roster would make my day.
Some of his pre-draft analysis from NFL.com is after the jump.
"Overview:Johnson is a big, strong linebacker that could fit inside or outside at the next level. He is a solid tackler that plays well with his pads over his feet. He understands angles and how to leverage the ball using his hands well to ward off blockers. Johnson can be disruptive when in blitz mode but needs to expand his pass rush moves and counters to pressure the quarterback. His motor runs on high whenever he buckles his chin strap which should bode well for him contributing as a rookie. Johnson is a good football player that may be limited in man coverage but should be effective in combination zone schemes as well as on special teams.Strengths:Johnson possesses a great combination of size, strength and toughness necessary to play linebacker at the next level. Is a highly competitive player who loves being in a phone booth and can really lay a hit. Is a really experienced talent who’s been productive. Is very instinctive against the run. Versatile player who could end up inside or on the strong side in a 3-4.Weaknesses:He really lacks great pure speed. Has limited range and isn’t really a sideline-to-sideline tackler. Isn’t overly comfortable in man or zone pass coverage. His ability to be an every down player is questionable because of his coverage shortcomings, but he can rush the passer."