As we do every offseason, we’ll be comparing each of the Philadelphia Eagles’ rookies to current or former NFL players. Today we’ll find a comp for sixth-round SAM linebacker Kyron Johnson.
Previous player comp profiles
First, who did Johnson say he patterned his game after?
“One of the players that’s here now, Haason Reddick,” Johnson said in May. “I watched him, Von Miller. I used to watch J.J. Watt, Tyus Bowser. I used to watch a lot of edge rushers. I try to keep it to a minimum how many players I watch, but I like to see the types of moves that they do. I like to see their get-offs. I like to see what’s their game style, like how do they attack offensive linemen.”
Johnson was both an off-ball linebacker and an edge rusher at Kansas, which likely makes him a fit at the SAM linebacker position in the Eagles’ defense. Johnson is 6’0, 231, and he ran a 4.40 40 at Kansas’ pro day. He had his share of moments at the Senior Bowl, flashing impressive athleticism in pass rushing one-on-one drills. He plays with speed and enthusiasm.
In 2021, Johnson had 63 tackles (8.5 for loss), 6.5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. He also had 17 career special teams tackles. He is a try-hard player who will likely contribute immediately on special teams, and could even get an opportunity here and there as a situational pass rusher.
The player he reminds me of is Dennis Gardeck, a similarly undersized 6’0, 232-pound try-hard pass rusher / core special teamer with the Cardinals, who also plays the game with enthusiasm.
In four seasons in the NFL after going undrafted in 2018, Gardeck has 38 special teams tackles, according to the Cardinals’ website. In 2020 he broke out with 7 sacks (which also happens to be his career sack total).
Johnson can be a similar type of high energy player for the Eagles.
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