James-Michael Johnson is a small school prospect out of Nevada who has experiencing playing on both the outside and inside. He started on the outside and finished out his career at Nevada in the middle.
Johnson measures 6-1 and 241 pounds and has some decent speed. At this years NFL Combine, Johnson recorded a 4.68 40-yard dash time. He also showed off his athleticism recording the longest broad jump among linebackers and also had a vertical leap of 37 inches.
Johnson has kind of a compact build and is a pretty good tackler despite being known to have shorter arms. He’s a pretty explosive hitter and looks to do damage whenever a ball carrier comes his way. At times, he can get overwhelmed by bigger blockers, but his handwork is pretty good. He moves well from sideline to sideline and has pretty natural instincts in reading the run.
In terms of his pass coverage, he seems to be a bit mediocre and that could be an area of concern when he gets to the next level and faces tougher competition. He saw a lot of one-on-one match-ups with receivers lined up in the slot and seemed to hold up fairly well.
Check out this video of Johnson against Boise State, via DraftBreakdown.com.
Johnson’s projections have kind of been all over the place. Most believe that he will go somewhere in the fourth or fifth round, but there are some who have him going as high as the third round. I don’t think he’ll go in the third round unless someone is really high on him.
With that in mind, he seems more likely to be an option on day three. The possibility of drafting Johnson will depend on how many linebackers they’ve taken in the first three to four rounds. I can see them adding two linebackers in the draft, so if they’ve hit that number already, I think you can rule Johnson out.
If they’ve only taken one, I think the Eagles would like Johnson and the versatility he possesses. He’s played both inside and outside in college, so he has experience lining up in different positions. Johnson definitely needs some work, but I think he could develop into a starting caliber player down the line.