The Johnson Mystery

Harry

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Well I’ve made the rounds and no one has discovered some concerning reason why Johnson dropped so dramatically.

Here are a few guesses. I won’t call them theories, because that would imply more scientific method.

He’s a graduate of Last Chance U. It’s where players with disqualifying issues go to so they can save their football future. The program has been around for several years, but for the most part has failed to develop special players. If you’re not familiar with this Netflix show, it centers around various community colleges and in Johnson’s case, Independence Community College in Kansas. He had a 1.9 grade point average, which disqualified him from Division 1, so he needed a new option. Sadly, the concept of resurrection seldom works, especially in the case of the Netflix show. No GM wants to hear “I told you so” when there’s so much negative history. So GMs felt it safer to pass on him. My opinion; talent, like gold, is where you find it.

Beware the late riser. Realize when I endorsed him just a few months ago he was day 2 at best. Several evaluators didn’t even have him on their prospect list of the top Edges. On the board, I’ve been making fun of the harassment I’ve received for endorsing him, then watching him rocket up mock drafts. My opinion is that these rises typically happen due to displays of great athleticism at either the Combine or their Pro Day. While Johnson performed well at these events he was rising before them when people started noticing him and studying his film. He earned the rise based on performance. He’d gone to FSU. Once a great program, in recent years they’ve displayed some of the worst coaching in a major conference. Few watch them anymore. Their games are so bad it reflects on everyone. So he wasn’t your typical late riser.

There was a rumor about a character issue at the draft. I can’t even confirm this rumor existed. My opinion is that team captains rarely have those issues. Johnson was regarded as a model citizen at FSU.

The league is becoming an offense first concern. IMO, this certainly is true. More teams believe you win by outscoring the other team rather than defending against them. Offense put rears in the seats. That said, there’s a limit to how one dimensional a team can be. I believe Johnson is a game changer.

Closely related is the theory this draft is deep in Edges. Johnson might be the best, but how much better is he? I think he’s far better than all but the to 3 guys. He will be an impact factor for seasons to come.

I also dismiss the idea that there were concerns about fit. Johnson is far more versatile than the other Edges. So this is just noise. He fits every major system.

He couldn’t start at Georgia. As an incoming transfer Georgia stayed with players that were already succeeding. Don’t fix what’s not broken.

Finally, someone mentioned age. At 23 he is older than many, but he’ll be in the NFL many years past his initial contract. Keep in mind Wyatt is a year older than Johnson.

More stuff may come out but in the end I believe he’s a Pro Bowl player waiting to happen. Teams who passed on him will feel embarrassed in retrospect. The Cards likely had no idea he’d be there at 23. However, I think they could well now be an offense first team.
 

dreamcastrocks

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He couldn’t start at Georgia. As an incoming transfer Georgia stayed with players that were already succeeding. Don’t fix what’s not broken.
That isn't a knock on him. If you put the entire Georgia starting defense on an NFL team, I would wager that it would be at least top 10, maybe even top 5.
 

Krangodnzr

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Well I’ve made the rounds and no one has discovered some concerning reason why Johnson dropped so dramatically.

Here are a few guesses. I won’t call them theories, because that would imply more scientific method.

He’s a graduate of Last Chance U. It’s where players with disqualifying issues go to so they can save their football future. The program has been around for several years, but for the most part has failed to develop special players. If you’re not familiar with this Netflix show, it centers around various community colleges and in Johnson’s case, Independence Community College in Kansas. He had a 1.9 grade point average, which disqualified him from Division 1, so he needed a new option. Sadly, the concept of resurrection seldom works, especially in the case of the Netflix show. No GM wants to hear “I told you so” when there’s so much negative history. So GMs felt it safer to pass on him. My opinion; talent, like gold, is where you find it.

Beware the late riser. Realize when I endorsed him just a few months ago he was day 2 at best. Several evaluators didn’t even have him on their prospect list of the top Edges. On the board, I’ve been making fun of the harassment I’ve received for endorsing him, then watching him rocket up mock drafts. My opinion is that these rises typically happen due to displays of great athleticism at either the Combine or their Pro Day. While Johnson performed well at these events he was rising before them when people started noticing him and studying his film. He earned the rise based on performance. He’d gone to FSU. Once a great program, in recent years they’ve displayed some of the worst coaching in a major conference. Few watch them anymore. Their games are so bad it reflects on everyone. So he wasn’t your typical late riser.

There was a rumor about a character issue at the draft. I can’t even confirm this rumor existed. My opinion is that team captains rarely have those issues. Johnson was regarded as a model citizen at FSU.

The league is becoming an offense first concern. IMO, this certainly is true. More teams believe you win by outscoring the other team rather than defending against them. Offense put rears in the seats. That said, there’s a limit to how one dimensional a team can be. I believe Johnson is a game changer.

Closely related is the theory this draft is deep in Edges. Johnson might be the best, but how much better is he? I think he’s far better than all but the to 3 guys. He will be an impact factor for seasons to come.

I also dismiss the idea that there were concerns about fit. Johnson is far more versatile than the other Edges. So this is just noise. He fits every major system.

He couldn’t start at Georgia. As an incoming transfer Georgia stayed with players that were already succeeding. Don’t fix what’s not broken.

Finally, someone mentioned age. At 23 he is older than many, but he’ll be in the NFL many years past his initial contract. Keep in mind Wyatt is a year older than Johnson.

More stuff may come out but in the end I believe he’s a Pro Bowl player waiting to happen. Teams who passed on him will feel embarrassed in retrospect. The Cards likely had no idea he’d be there at 23. However, I think they could well now be an offense first team.
Sounds like if you add all of these concerns, there is a reason for a "fall".

He also could have been a really bad interview. We know the Cardinals interviewed him since you could see him in the interview room at the Combine.

This means that even with the Cardinals edge needs, they still went with Hollywood over him.
 

dreamcastrocks

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Disagree. Maybe one of those guys on Georgia actually ends up being a top player.
Wager? I'll absolutely take the over on 1.5 top players.

Although we need to clarify what makes a 'top player.'
 

reebokalone2001

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That isn't a knock on him. If you put the entire Georgia starting defense on an NFL team, I would wager that it would be at least top 10, maybe even top 5.
Agreed, the Bulldog's Defense front 7 just provided 4 first-round picks yesterday plus Nakobe Dean (whom I believe should have been a 1 st round pick if not being so much undersized). I don't see a problem that Johnson was not able to crack such a starting lineup as a CC transfer.

P.S. Joe Burrow was not able to start at Ohio State for multiple years competing against J.T, Barret and Dwayne Haskins until he transferred to LSU, the rest was history. These young players sometimes just need the right place, system, and/or coach to shine.

I like what I see from Johnson's tape. High motor, has quick steps, and is very fluid. I would have stayed put and picked him.
 

overseascardfan

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Well he still went in first round unfortunately to the Jets instead of a playoff team so his fall didn't help him.
 

Garthshort

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I am confused by the trade (Hollywood). Seems that it was finalized the day before the Draft, and we went into the Draft w/o a 1st round pick. SK said that he anticipated that there would be a run on WR's, and the ones we wanted would not be there at #23, hence the trade. And the same with Johnson. At least that's the way I saw it. But, I'm far from certain.
 

gmabel830

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I am confused by the trade (Hollywood). Seems that it was finalized the day before the Draft, and we went into the Draft w/o a 1st round pick. SK said that he anticipated that there would be a run on WR's, and the ones we wanted would not be there at #23, hence the trade. And the same with Johnson. At least that's the way I saw it. But, I'm far from certain.

I heard you are basically right, but Ravens GM didn’t want it announced until after they picked at 14. The trade was announced shortly after their pick.
 

BritCard

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I think it's more simple.

He has one of the lowest pass rush win rates in the top tier. He has some great splash plays and that spin move is legit. But you can't spin every play and beyond that his down to down ability was more limited.

He's an older recruit. Will be 24 before next Superbowl. 2 years older than guys like Hutchinson, Karlaftis and Walker.
 
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