KC Chiefs: Nazeeh Johnson eager to learn from L’Jarius Sneed

Nazeeh Johnson
Nazeeh Johnson /

Nazeeh Johnson sounds pretty wise for a rookie. With a humble demeanor, the Kansas City Chiefs rookie defensive back says he has a primary goal in these early days with his new team: to create value for himself.

Johnson also says he has a mentor in mind to help him do this: Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.

Johnson was the last of 10 selections made by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2022 NFL Draft. As a seventh-round prospect, he knows he faces an uphill climb to make the roster, and it doesn’t help that he was the fifth defensive back selected in this rookie class—one anchored by first-round pick Trent McDuffie and second-round safety Bryan Cook.

Kansas City Chiefs rookie Nazeeh Johnson says he’s eager to learn from L’Jarius Sneed and create value for himself.

However, Johnson has been in this position and beaten the odds. As a walk-on at Marshall, he not only climbed the depth chart to turn into a versatile starter in the secondary for the Thundering Herd, but he was also named second-team All-Conference USA in 2020 and earned honorable mention again in 2021. With plenty of length at 6’2 and speed for days (he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.35 seconds), Johnson is now primed to climb another depth chart.

Johnson recently spoke to Chiefs reporters after going through his first rookie mini-camp and detailed how it felt to hear his name called by the Chiefs.

“It was a very humbling experience because I started my career as a walk-on. Just to hear my name and all those dreams and aspirations come true, I’m just grateful for the Chiefs organization for the chance to showcase my talent,” said Johnson.

The Chiefs selected Johnson with their third pick in the draft’s final round, and Johnson said he was hearing from teams who wanted to sign him as an undrafted free agent. The L.A. Rams and Cincinnati Bengals had also shown interest, but the New York Giants had already reached an agreement to bring him in—that is until he was drafted by the Chiefs.

When asked about his experience at mini-camp, Johnson said the Chiefs were using him in very similar ways to his days at Marshall, which meant getting time at safety and nickel. “It felt really good. Everything is moving so fast. It’s different from college. It’s just good just to be here and living in the now. I’m taking advantage of all of my opportunities.”

As for. how he begins to make this ultimate climb, he’s planning to glean as much as he can from a player who has already made a similar journey in Sneed.

“I learned a lot from him. I played him in college and the way he translated from college to the pros is excellent. I’m just trying to pick his brain and learn from him because he’s executing at a high level. I like how fluid he is. [He’s] physical. He plays corner. He plays the nickel. He knows a lot of positions on this defense, so he’s creating value for himself.

“That’s the biggest thing, just learning from someone who created value for himself and that’s what I’m trying to do: create value for myself.”

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