2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Edge Patrick Johnson, Tulane

Patrick Johnson has the traits to be a priority free-agent if not a Day 3 draft pick, and is a guy with room to grow into his craft. Here's what else he brings to the game.
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EDGE PATRICK JOHNSON

Height: 6'3"
Weight: 255 lbs.
Class: Senior  
School: Tulane


Two-star recruit out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, who attended Notre Dame High School. Johnson was the 102nd recruit in Tennessee and the 3022nd national recruit in the 2017 cycle, according to 247 Sports. He finished his time at Tulane with the most sacks in school history with 24.5 sacks in four seasons.

He also had 132 tackles and 35 for a loss with the Green Wave. Earned a spot on the American All-Conference Team in 2018, was second-team in 2019, and was first-team in 2020 again. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson had 44 quarterback pressures, and he was graded out as the highest edge rusher in the AAC back in 2018.

Traits

He has adequate height and weight, with shorter arms. He was used in various roles for the Green Wave; kicked out into space to cover, lined up often on the EDGE to the field side, and even lined up on the line of scrimmage in an under front. He was mostly tasked to rush the passer and was used in coverage to the flat and in man coverage.

Johnson has solid athletic traits. He shows a quality first step, enough bend in the waist to take advantage from wider angles, although he could do better bending through contact in tighter alignments. He accelerates quickly to the tackle point and has a solid closing burst to finish plays. He has the quickness element to his game.

He has a very good, low, stance and he explodes out of it quickly. He uses his athletic traits well as a pass rusher. He does a solid job getting up the arc, converting speed to power, and dipping his inside shoulder around punches.

He could be better with how he leverages his hands and how he attacks tackles while pass rushing. He has shown solid pass-rushing moves, which are set up well by Johnson’s strong hands and grip strength.

Foot quickness and hustle are two solid traits to have for a pass rusher, but the lack of length will hurt. He uses good moves up the arc; I would like to see some more counters to the inside and just a more adept plan when his first move fails. Rushing from wider angles assists Johnson.

He is solid as a run defender; moves well outside through contact when the play is read correctly. He can hold the point with enough play strength in one on one situations, but length hurts here as well. He sinks his pad level well and absorbs contact. Can drop and move in space as a zone defender. 

Against shiftier running backs out of the backfield, he may struggle in man coverage-- athletic ability suggests he can keep up with average running backs and tight ends. Processing is solid, and he executes his role well within the confines of the defense.

Overall, Johnson plays with an excellent effort, has quality athletic traits that will allow him to win in certain situations. Lack of length will always hurt Johnson, but he could make a team happy as an undrafted free agent if he fails to be selected, albeit I believe he should be a Day 3 pick.


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