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Ex-Ole Miss DE Cedric Johnson Named Potential Sleeper in 2024 NFL Draft

Former Ole Miss Rebels defensive lineman Cedric Johnson has become a player to look out for in the 2024 NFL Draft thanks to an impressive Combine performance.
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OXFORD, Miss. -- The Ole Miss Rebels certainly gained more talent than they lost this offseason, but their biggest loss is without a doubt defensive end Cedric Johnson. 

The senior declared for the 2024 NFL Draft after helping lead Ole Miss' defense to a Peach Bowl victory, and he finished his four-year career as a Rebel with 111 total tackles, 22 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles, 19 sacks, and four pass breakups.

The Chucky Mullins Award winner took part in the 2024 NFL Combine last week and turned heads with an impressive display of athleticism for someone Johnson's size (6-3, 265-pounds). Johnson's performance wound up boosting his draft stock, as 247Sports listed ten late round prospects who could potentially become NFL starters on Thursday, and the former Rebel landed in the projections.

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"One of the early momentum-makers at the combine, Cedric Johnson placed the best among his group of defensive linemen with an official time of 4.63 in the 40-yard dash," 247Sports wrote. "Later, Johnson flexed an impressive 1.61 10-yard split, a 10-foot, 2-inch broad jump and perhaps the most impressive, a 38-inch vertical that was among the top 5-best among defensive linemen and linebackers. 

"Johnson had the highest mark for the majority of the scouting day. At 6-3, 265 pounds, Johnson is agile for his size and had 40 tackles in his final season at Ole Miss."

The outlet is currently projecting Johnson to be a seventh round pick, but he may very well be drafted earlier if he continues to ace his pre-draft process. Whether he is an instant-impact player or more of a project, Johnson's ability to perform at a consistent level for four years in the Southeastern Conference should posit that he has the chops and athleticism to eventually become a starter in the NFL.