Derrick Johnson College: Texas
Birthday: November 22, 1982
Strengths: Backyard football games at Derrick Johnson’s house must have been something to see. His older brother Dwight was a defensive tackle for the Giants, cousin Bert Emanuel was a wide receiver for several NFL teams, cousin Kevin Emanuel is a defensive lineman for Florida State, and cousin Ben Emanuel is a defensive back for UCLA.
Few linebackers fly around the field like Johnson. The Waco native has great closing speed and is at his best when he is freed up to attack the offense. He is also very effective in pass coverage. Johnson made 14 tackles against Kansas State last year, including 11 solo and two sacks. Against Oklahoma, he made 12 tackles and picked off a pass.
While Johnson normally lines up at weakside linebacker in Texas’ base 4-3 defense, he has gained some experience in a 3-4 when the Longhorns used that defense against teams that run spread offenses like Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
Areas of Concern: At 220 lbs., Johnson is undersized for a 3-4 outside linebacker and is better suited to lining up in space than over a tight end or offensive tackle. He tends to use his speed to run around blocks rather than fighting through them, which can create a seam in the defense if the blocker reacts properly.
A junior in 2003, Johnson has stated that he will stay in school for his senior year. All of the Longhorns’ star players (Ricky Williams, Quentin Jammer, Roy Williams, etc.) have resisted the temptation to turn pro early since Mack Brown has been in Austin.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? Johnson has the explosive burst to thrive as an outside linebacker in the Texans’ defense, but he would need to get bigger and stronger in order to take on offensive linemen and hold up to the rigors of the NFL season. If he sticks with his plan of not entering the draft until 2005, he should better fit the Texans’ profile by the time he submits to the pre-draft scrutiny.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca)
Derrick Johnson’s 2002 Stats G TCK TFL SACK FF FR INT 13 120 13 2.0 0 0 4 Derrick Johnson Return to The War Room
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