Derrick Johnson tends to get overshadowed by Kansas City's edge rushers, but it's his own versatility that allows Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to stay so aggressive. 

By Jacob Feldman
August 10, 2016

Johnson returned from injury in 2015 to great success, playing all 16 games last year and racking up 116 total tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.  Only four players finished the season with more defensive stops than he did, and none of them can boast zero touchdowns allowed in coverage as Johnson can. In fact, PFF’s stats had him allowing the fewest yards per coverage snap among linebackers at .55. He also proved a serviceable spy on passing downs and showed the ability to disrupt quarterbacks when called on to blitz. The 33-year-old’s reward after his comeback season was a fourth Pro Bowl invite and fourth place in All-Pro voting. He tends to get overshadowed by KC's edge rushers, but Johnson's versatility is what allows Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to stay so aggressive, as he prevents openings behind them in both phases of the game. KC recognized his importance this offseason, inking him to a three-year deal despite his advanced age. Initially a weak fit in the 3–4 five years ago due to his inability to shed oncoming guards, Johnson has learned to use his size and speed to his advantage, whether that means shooting gaps and disrupting plays inside or chasing down outside rush attempts. In the Chiefs' Week 13 comeback victory against the Raiders, Johnson tallied six tackles in the 4th quarter, three of which were for a loss or no gain.

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