Jermaine Johnson II Draft Profile
In an era where guys like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson are dominating the NFL, every team is trying to find a way to stop these top guys. In order to stop these freak quarterback talents, defenses need to have guys who can get to the quarterback. Florida State Edge Rusher, Jermaine Johnson II, is a guy who can get to the quarterback. The Georgia transfer saw his production and impact skyrocket once he got to Florida State. At FSU, Johnson was best when lined up in a three-point stance as a seven-tech. Johnson is one of the best edge rushers in this year’s draft and he really gained traction at the Senior Bowl. After the senior bowl, he went from being a fringe first round pick to now a projected top-20 guy. Johnson isn’t a perfect prospect by any means, but I could see a team falling in love with him and trading up to grab him.
It is rare to see a guy coming out of college with Johnson’s rush package. While his moves are not fully developed, he has shown that he can win in a multitude of ways: speed, power, two-hand swipe, swim, and a spin move. There is room for improvement with every one of his moves, but I just look at it as untapped potential. Johnson is a smart player that thrives with stunts where he can get head-up with a guard and use his strength to overpower his opponent. The former Seminole has an extremely high motor and does not give up on his rushes. At FSU, Johnson played the majority of his snaps as the strong-side defensive end and lined up towards the field-side. When lined up against a big-ugly, Johnson utilizes his quickness like he is a receiver coming off the line of scrimmage. As a run-defender, Johnson has good instincts, and sniffs plays out very consistently. In my opinion, Johnson’s most effective rush move is his straight bull rush. When he gets his hands on the offensive lineman’s chest plate, he does a great job of using his strength to drive the lineman back and get in the quarterback's face. When using speed rushes, Johnson showed off his ability to bend and get low to the ground— especially against Miami. Johnson is a very well-round defensive end and won’t have to wait too long in the green room to hear his name called.
While some people knock Johnson for transferring out of the SEC, he was still able to face some elite competition like Ikem Eckwonu, my number one graded offensive lineman in this year’s class. With that being said, I thought Ekwonu basically shut him down besides a few reps. Most of Johnson’s success against NC State came against the right tackle rather than Ekwonu. As a pass-rusher, there are times when he gets way too far upfield allowing the quarterback to step up and run. While he is a good run-defender, I noticed there were times when he wasn’t aggressive enough and got flushed out. For Johnson, I think it is pivotal that he lands in a spot where the defensive line coach forces him to be more disciplined.
Overall, I am a big fan of Johnson’s game. In the NFL, I believe he can consistently be a double-digit sack guy once he polishes his rushes. For example, I believe he has the speed and quickness to pull off his spin-move, he just needs to learn how to do it and not get upfield too much. In my opinion, the perfect fit for Johnson is with the Arizona Cardinals at pick number 23 overall. He would be a great replacement for Chandler Jones, the only problem I could see is him not being there. The earliest I could personally see him going is at number eight overall to the Falcons, but realistically I see him going in the teens. The Chiefs are a team that could potentially trade up for him with all the picks that they have. He actually reminds me of a former chiefs edge rusher, Emmanuel Ogbah, who is now with the Dolphins. While I believe Johnson has a higher upside than Ogbah, I feel like that is a good benchmark for his success. Johnson is a really good prospect that will play a pivotal role in slowing down some of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
Strength + Power: 7/8
Bend + Flexibility: 5.5/7
Run Defender: 6.25/7
Motor + Adaptability: 6.5/7
Pass Rush Moves: 5.75/6
Get Off: 5.25/6
Final Rating: 85
Pro Comparison: Emmanuel Ogbah
Team Fits: Cardinals, Chiefs, Falcons
Draft Ranking: Top 20
Draft Projection: Top 20