The New Orleans Saints are expected to sign veteran defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson on Friday. The news was first reported by Aaron Wilson, who covers the Houston Texans.
The 27-year-old Johnson entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Iowa. He appeared in five games as a rookie.
Johnson had been a regular part of the Vikings defensive line rotation since 2018, playing in all 48 regular-season games and four postseason contests.
He started one game in 2018, recording a half-sack, 2 QB pressures, one tackle for loss, and forcing a fumble.
Johnson had a career-high 3.5 sacks, 6 pressures, and 5 tackles for loss in 2019. He followed that up by starting all 16 games last year and appearing in a career-best 61% of the Vikings defensive snaps. He had 1.5 sacks, 2 pressures, and 3 tackles for loss.
After signing with the Houston Texans as a free agent this spring, Johnson was a surprising cut when the team finalized its 53-man roster earlier this week.
A 6’3” and 316-Lb tackle, Johnson is best against the run. He's a powerfully built player who plays with excellent leverage inside.
As a pass rusher, he doesn't have a big array of moves but uses his strength to push the pass pocket back into a quarterback.
The Saints will be without star DT David Onyemata for the first six games as he serves a league suspension.
New Orleans had already lost DT Jalen Dalton to a season-ending injury in the preseason after parting ways with tackles Sheldon Rankins and Malcom Brown this offseason.
Johnson will compete for a spot in the interior rotation with Shy Tuttle, Malcolm Roach, Christian Ringo, and newly signed Montravius Adams.
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