Tyree Johnson is a former 3-star prospect from the Washington D.C. area. Johnson is a redshirt senior defensive lineman that has contributed since the 2018 season, starting/playing in more than 40 games as an Aggie. Johnson is a versatile edge defender that has had his most productive season this past season. During the 2021 season, Johnson was able to rack up eight sacks and more than 30 tackles. This performance was rewarded with Johnson being named a Second-Team AP All-American and it also helped put Johnson on the radar for many NFL scouts. Johnson is a defender that has shown he can play the run effectively and also provide a good rush from the edge. Early on in his NFL career, I believe that Johnson will have to focus on developing his pass-rush repertoire and should primarily be used as a rotational guy. Johnson has a knack for getting to the quarterback and while he doesn’t have any elite traits like speed or length, he is a guy that has upside as a starting edge player in the NFL.
Ideal Role: 3-4 OLB
Scheme Fit: 3-4
Written by Keith Sanchez
Games watched: Alabama (2021), Auburn (2021), South Carolina (2021), LSU (2021)
Best Game Studied: Alabama (2021)
Worst Game Studied: Auburn (2021)
First Step Explosiveness: Johnson has an explosive burst that is comparable to NFL edge rushers. Johnson uses his first step to position himself to gain the leverage on offensive linemen needed to run the arc to the quarterback. While Johnson doesn’t have an elite first step, it is the same consistent tempo every play.
Flexibility: Johnson’s flexibility is shown through his ability to get to the quarterback. In rushing the quarterback, Johnson shows good ankle bend when he is able to beat the offensive tackle and immediately take an acute angle directly to the quarterback. He also shows good knee bend when he is able to dip under offensive linemen on his way to the quarterback.
Hand Counters: Johnson is good at his initial engagement with offensive lineman but has limited hand counters after the initial engagement. When in hand combat, Johnson showed a good two-hand swipe and push-pull maneuver to beat offensive linemen’s attempts to block him. Johnson needs improvement in having counter moves—once his initial pass rush move is complete, Johnson usually stalls at the line of scrimmage, failing to have another move in his repertoire.
Length: Johnson does not have great length but it is adequate enough for him to fulfill all of the responsibilities of an edge rusher. Against the run, Johnson has enough arm length to properly lock-out offensive linemen so he can set the edge properly. His arms are also long enough to initiate contact with offensive linemen first so they don’t get into his chest plate and stop him from rushing the passer.
Hand Power: This player can use the power in his hands in multiple different ways. In the run game, his hands are strong enough to hold offensive linemen at the line of scrimmage and shed them when necessary. Rushing the passer, Johnson shows strong hands in his ability to swipe offensive linemen’s hands away from him in order to defeat blocks.
Run Defending: Against the run is where Johnson’s true lack of body mass shows itself. When defending the run, Johnson fights to hold the line of scrimmage. Against offensive linemen, he eventually becomes overwhelmed and it results in him being displaced off the line of scrimmage. Johnson is best against the run when he’s aligned on the outside of a tackle and he has to commit to setting the edge.
Effort/Motor: Johnson is a scrappy player that makes up for his lack of size on the defensive line with high effort. On run plays, he gives max effort to hold the line of scrimmage. On passing downs, you see Johnson give his all to get to the quarterback, utilizing whatever pass-rush moves he has.
Football IQ: When defending the run, Johnson has the IQ to understand what block is being attempted on him. He does a good job of maintaining outside leverage on reach blocks. He can quickly identify power run plays and understands where they may have pullers coming from.
Lateral Mobility: At Texas A&M, the Aggies occasionally ask Johnson to drop into zone coverage. In coverage, Johnson is very limited in his ability to redirect laterally in the open field. He shouldn’t be asked to do much but act as a flats player in zone coverage.
Versatility: Johnson has a limited frame from a height, weight, and length perspective that affects his ability to play multiple positions. Johnson simply lacks the body mass to play on the interior of defensive lines and lacks the length to play as a 4-3 defensive end. Johnson should be a stand-up edge rusher where he is already lined up outside the tackle and already in a great position to maintain the leverage he has.
TDN Consensus: 67.50/100 (Seventh Round Value)
Sanchez Grade: 68.00/100