Draft 2023 – Pick #14: Desjuan Johnson, DE, Toledo

Player Bio
Johnson was a three-star recruit out of East English Village Prep when signing with Toledo for 2018. He played in 11 games that fall as a true freshman (17 tackles, three for loss with one sack) and then suited up for 12 games off the bench in 2019 (32 tackles, seven for loss with one sack). Johnson was a second-team All-MAC selection in 2020, when he led the Golden Rockets with eight tackles for loss (three sacks) among 27 stops in six starts, and 2021 (70 tackles, 12.5 for loss with 4.5 sacks, team-high two forced fumbles). He was a first-team All-MAC pick in 2022, topping the Golden Rockets with 16.5 tackles for loss (with 5.5 sacks among 65 stops) in 14 starts. — by Chad Reuter

By Lance Zierlein NFL Analyst
Draft Projection Round 7/Priority free agent

Johnson is as tough as it gets at the point of attack, where he was able to consistently battle and fend off blockers who were much bigger than him. He plays with excellent contact balance and is almost never on the ground. His arms are short for the position at the NFL level and his overall mass is below average for an interior player, but he rarely looks overwhelmed by his opponent’s power or double teams. Johnson is a consistently productive interior prospect, but his lack of physical traits is likely to limit his draft slotting and will potentially force teams to see if he can continue adding weight to his frame without slowing down.

  • Tremendous pound-for-pound strength at the point of attack.
  • Plays with excellent pad level and contact balance.
  • Hands are heavy into first contact in both phases of his play.
  • Shows ability to split the double team with success.
  • Has lower-body power to drive through a blocker’s shoulder and into the pocket.
  • Closing burst in short spaces to finish the sack.
  • Lacks desired overall mass as an interior NFL defender.
  • Can get lost behind blockers at times.
  • Short arms create delays in discarding blocks.
  • Doesn’t play with the juice and length to rush off the edge.
  • Could have issues finding rush momentum on a consistent basis.

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