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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: DL Mustafa Johnson

  • The Draft Network
  • February 4, 2021
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Mustafa Johnson aligned as a DE for Colorado's odd front defense. He will also reduce down to a 3-tech in certain packages. He has good reactive athleticism, as evidenced in his lateral mobility and agility as a pass rusher. In the run game, he gets creative to defeat blockers. He is undersized and lacks ideal length, but he uses what he has to penetrate gaps and cause disruption. In the passing game, he has been productive. He demonstrates a sufficient level of power in his hands to disengage. He is playing in a system that he isn’t ideally suited for, but is a high-effort player who is also competitive.   

Ideal Role: Developmental player.

Scheme Fit: 4-3 defensive scheme only.


Written by Drae Harris

Games watched: CSU (2019), Nebraska (2019), CSU (2020)

Best Game Studied: Nebraska (2019)

Worst Game Studied: CSU (2019)

First-Step Explosion:  He plays with just average first-step explosion. For an undersized lineman, his initial quickness off the snap needs to be better. If he cannot win with power, you'd ideally like more juice off the snap.

Flexibility: He has average flexibility. This is evidenced in his ability to bend and get the edge. This should not hinder him, as he mostly wins with quickness inside. 

Hand Counters: He is average when using his hands to counter. He mostly relies on his initial move to defeat defenders—usually with quickness. He could be more effective as a rusher if he learned to use his hands better.

Hand Power: He plays with average power in his hands. This is evidenced in his ability to disengage when linemen have locked him up. He also shows some power in his hands as a bull rusher. 

Run Defending: He has shown average effectiveness when defending the run. Particularly when he is play side. He can also get blown off the ball by double teams, which puts him at a disadvantage when defending the run.

Effort: There is nothing that stands out about his effort and motor. He will chase the ball sufficiently when the play is away from him. He also works hard to disengage and move laterally to the ball. 

Football IQ: He has demonstrated less than ideal football IQ. This is highlighted when they are playing heavy read-option teams. He will lose the ball at times and is often a tad slow to decipher. 

Lateral Mobility: He shows adequate ability to move laterally and get through trash. He does have some overall quickness, as evidenced in his ability to get home as a rusher.

Functional Strength: He has adequate functional strength. He can be overwhelmed inside by double teams when his pad level isn’t good. There are also moments when physical linemen have blown him off the ball. 

Versatility: He lacks true positional versatility. He is playing in a scheme that isn’t ideally suited for his skill set. A 4-3 defensive scheme would suit his skill set the best. 


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Drae Harris: 68/100

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