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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa

Even with 2016’s investments, the Giants might still have to reload their defense. Could Jaleel Johnson be a piece?

NCAA Football: Maryland at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016 offseason was transformative for the New York Giants. They brought in a trio of high-priced, but talented and ascending free agents and made several draft investments in their defense. The result was one of the toughest defenses in the NFL. But now, just one year later, they might be forced to consider restocking that same defense thanks to free agency. In particular, the Giants have tough decisions to make on Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins.

In the case that the Giants are forced to let Hankins leave via free agency, they could look to the draft to replace him. With that in mind, let’s talk about Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.


Height - 6 feet, 2 inches

Weight - 309 pounds

40 Time - 5.15s (projected)


  • Powerful player with good size and length
  • Active hands keep blockers from engaging
  • Difficult to stop when he has momentum
  • Plays with good pad level and leverage
  • Makes plays in both the run game and passing game


  • Has good length for the position, but still measured shorter than his listed 6-foot-4, 310
  • Struggles to disengage from blockers if he doesn’t make the first contact
  • Flashes a high ceiling, but can disappear at times as well

Does He Fit With The Giants?

In principle yes.

He looks like a natural fit as a powerful 3-technique or 2i in a four-man front, and would fit right into the Giants’ defensive tackle rotation. Whether or not they should draft Johnson -- or any defensive tackle -- is a different story, and largely connected to whether or not they re-sign (or extend) Hankins.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - N/A

Mocking The Draft - N/A

CBS Sports - 85th overall

Draft Countdown - N/A

Draft Tek - 80th overall

Final Thoughts

Jaleel Johnson could be a difference-maker at the next level. At times he is a disruptive force on the defensive line, with the ability to shove offensive linemen around, shoot gaps, and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. However, he can be a bit frustrating to watch and doesn’t always play to that high level. But with 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, and 55 total tackles to his credit in his senior season, Johnson is definitely talented.