News & Analysis

PFF scouting report: Jaleel Johnson, DI, Iowa

By PFF Analysis Team
Mar 29, 2017
Minnesota Vikings Jaleel Johnson

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Iowa defensive end Nate Meier (34) defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (67) and defensive back Maurice Fleming celebrate after recovering a fumble during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)

Name: Jaleel Johnson

School: Iowa

Position fit: Played left defensive tackle at Iowa, probably best at 3 technique

Stats to know: Ranked sixth in pass rush productivity with 43 combined pressures in 330 snaps.

What he does best:

  • Exceptional capacity to convert speed to power, uses his momentum to jack up blockers.
  • Displays excellent hand placement to keep blockers off his frame rushing the passer.
  • Understands leverage, gets low as a bull-rusher to generate vertical momentum.
  • Refined pass-rusher with a range of moves, able to use speed or power.
  • Possesses counter-moves, works free even when initially blocked.
  • Impressive lateral agility, able to shift horizontally whilst sustaining upfield momentum.
  • Terror on stunts, clatters into the center from the blindside to collapse the pocket.
  • Shows ability to change direction in the backfield, despite contact, to make stops behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Power to bench press lineman when solo blocked in the run game, strong upper body.
  • Reads and rejects cut blocks, using his hands to keep his lower half clean.
  • Versatile, can play all across the front.

Biggest concern:

  • Occasionally widens the point of attack attempting to penetrate.
  • Fails to consistently diagnose misdirection, occasionally losing track of the ball carrier.
  • Can struggle to shed blockers once engaged.
  • Attacking play style makes him slow to recognize plays he is intentionally being let up-field.
  • Plays a bit reckless at times and will take unnecessary penalties.

Player comparison: Mike Daniels, Green Bay Packers

Johnson failed to wow evaluators on a consistent basis in 2016, but he represents the most complete defensive line prospect below the top tier. Like Daniels, he can win in a number of ways, and fulfill a number of roles. Although matching Daniels’ absurd level of pass-rush production would be quite the feat, Johnson has the upside to make an impact collapsing the pocket in the NFL.

Bottom line: Interior pass-rushers are incredibly valuable in the NFL, and Johnson is one of the better options in that regard once the top prospects are off the board. He can fire off the ball, deliver an initial strike, then disengage in a variety of ways. Combined with his solid run-defending skillset and positional versatility, Johnson is likely to find himself on the majority of draft boards come May. Although far from an elite player in college, he appears to possess the traits necessary to succeed in the NFL.

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