James-Michael Johnson is an overall decent ILB who has shown tremendous durability. Johnson is a downhill between-the-tackles LB, but has ample speed to get sideline to sideline. He has strong hands to disengage from OL blockers as well as anchors low to make plays while engaged. Johnson can also maneuver past guards and has a good swim move. He has great upper body strength and is a good wrap-up tackler.
He is very good in the middle zone often getting his hands into the passing lane and disrupting throws and has enough pop in his hits to separate receiver and ball in pass coverage. He is not often brought in on blitzes/pass rushes, but will fight through traffic and RB blocks to get into the backfield to pressure the QB.
Johnson has limited visibility that causes him at times to have a slow reaction time to developing plays. He can be easily fooled by misdirection and has difficulty recovering; quicker more agile RBs can elude him in space. In blitz/pass rush situations lacks closing speed to get the sack.
Johnson needs to work on man coverage, as he is inconsistent in his diagnosing skills and may struggle against quicker more experienced receivers in the NFL. He gets caught up in cut blocks too often. Has a tendency to take angles that are too aggressive, causing him to miss tackles. Johnson lacks elite fluidity and athleticism, although does show good flexibility. Has to keep moving his feet or stronger ball carriers can run through his tackles.
- ILB, Nevada, Sr.
- Ht: 6’1”
- Wt: 240
Johnson is a well-rounded linebacker who has good average skills at the position. While he doesn’t do anything outstanding, he also doesn’t do anything terrible. He was elected team captain his junior year, and is said to be a leader on and off the field. Shows a strong work ethic in the film room and weight room and that will translate well to the NFL, making him attractive for his leadership skills as well as his willingness to put in work. Johnson did not miss a game due to injury in his four years at Nevada. In 2011 Johnson recorded 100 tackles (54 solo), 6.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 3 PBU, 1 FF, and an interception.
Dory LeBlanc, co-hosts NFL Draft Cheat Sheet on RotoRadio and freelances for BourbonMeyer.com. Not just a college sports enthusiast, Dory is also a fan of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Born outside Philly, she moved to Tampa, and now resides in Illinois, giving her a broad perspective on the sporting world. You may email Dory at email@example.com or follow her on twitter @DoryLeBlanc