by Drew Boylhart
SR Staff Writer
November 2004
Derrick Johnson   LB   Texas

Derrick might be the purest athletic LB in this draft. He has excellent speed and loves to run down plays going away from him. He is excellent in the passing game because he is very quick and has an excellent burst to the ball. He has nice long arms that help him to defend passes and has pretty good hands for the interception. Derrick is a big play impact LB in the college game.

Needs to Improve

Derrick loves to make the play in the running game as long as it is away from. On film he doesnít stand up strong against the run when it is straight at him.

Talent Board Round  1

Right now, Derrick is rated very high because he has such great athletic talent for his position. The reality is that he has a big hole in his game when a running back runs right at him. He ducks the tackle, turns sideways, drops his head and doesnít wrap up. Derrick is outstanding in the passing game or when the play goes to the other side. He is outstanding when blitzing the QB. The problem comes when the RB comes right in his face -- thatís when he backs off. For me, this is a big problem because first of all, it limits Derrick in my mind to just a one-position player. By that, I mean he canít play the MLB position. Some scouts (because of all of his other skills and talents) will overlook this little problem. For me personally, I would draft Derrick -- but not until later in the draft, late 1st early 2nd. To me, this is not a little problem. Head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive are the basics of the LB position. If you donít like to do the basics of the position you play, maybe you should move to another position. Or play soccerÖnow, thereís a sport where you can show your athletic ability by running after people and you donít have to tackle them at all. Derrick will be drafted and make a lot of great plays, but when the chips are down and the other team needs three yards on fourth down, they will run his way every time and get it.