During the buildup to the 2012 NFL Draft we have not discussed the linebacker position as much as we have in previous seasons. The New York Giants may not currently have a superstar at the position, but they do seem to have several talented players with promising futures.
Besides, general manager Jerry Reese doesn't draft linebackers as early as seemingly everyone else would like him to, anyway.
So, today let's use our 2012 NFL Draft Prospect Profile on the kind of middle-round linebacker prospect Reese seems to like to go after. Our subject today is Nevada inside linebacker James-Michael Johnson.
Wes Bunting of the National Football Post says:
Is a good athlete who can run, close on the football and play with power in the run game. Needs to play a bit lower in coverage, but overall does everything at a pretty solid NFL level. Is a guy who can win a starting job at the next level.
Johnson has played both outside and inside during his four years at Nevada, finishing up at the Mike position in his final two years. He has been a productive tackler and is an obvious leader and inspiration on the defense. He is athletic and thick, and he brings power to the line of scrimmage when tackling. He has fourth-round talent and has the temperament to contribute on special teams early.
CBS Sports says "Teams running base schemes should see Johnson as one of the top true mike linebackers in this draft because of his ability to come downhill against the run."
James-Michael Johnson Profile
40 time: 4.68
2011 Stats: 100 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 passes defensed, 1 interception