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Prospect Profiles: ILB Micah Johnson (Kentucky)



Micah Johnson is a prospect that Giants fans should be very interested in for this upcoming draft. Micah Johnson played in the very tough S.E.C. and had some monster games the last two seasons of his career at Kentucky.

Micah Johnson’ is a very good athlete and is someone who will be drafted anywhere between late 1st round and middle of the third round (I believe).


Measurables (Combine Numbers Posted When Available)

6’2” 256 pounds. Senior.


Career: 277 tackles, 2 FF, 2 INT

2009: 105 tackles, and a sack.

Big Games: 12 tackles 1 sack vs Louisville.

vs Alabama 10 tackles.

At Auburn 14 tackles.

vs Mississippi State 11 tackles

at Georgia 10 tackles

vs Tennessee 16  tackles (10 solo)

at Clemson (Bowl Game) 5 tackles.

2008 Stats: 87 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF.

Big Games: 4 games with 12 or more tackles.

Vs South Carolina (12). Vs Arkansas (15, and 1 sack, one pass defensed), with Vanderbilt (12), Tennessee (12 and a sack)

He had some absolutely dominant games against good teams the last two season of his career. He especially had Tennessee’s number. He wasn’t asked to blitz a lot, and he did not get at the QB, but he was very good in run support as the numbers will indicate.

Pro Draft Party Film

Micah Johnson

Scouting Reports

ESPN’s Scouts Inc (1 exceptional, 3 average, 5 marginal)

Production 2 2006: 13/2) 29 tackles, 1 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF; 2 carries, 1 rush TD; SEC?All-Freshman selection by coaches 2007: (12/1) 58 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 INT, 5 PBU 2008: (11/10) 93 tackles, 13 TFL, 2.5 sacks, 2 PBU, 1 FF; First-team All-SEC
Height-Weight-Speed 2 Prototypical height and bulk and good top-end speed.
Durability 4 Sustains high ankle sprain during 2008 Middle Tennessee State game and misses Western Kentucky and Alabama games as a result. Undergoes arthroscopic knee surgery in October 2007 and misses Mississippi State game. 
Intangibles 3 Guest visitor at the 2008 Dance Blue Marathon Suspended for academic reasons in 2007 but is a volunteer at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Missed most of the 2006 Mississippi State game for academic attendance issues. Raised in a military family and lived in several different states while growing up. Capable of lining up at running back in short-yardage situations. (Rushed for a touchdown in 2006)
Inside Linebacker specific Traits
Instincts/Recognition 2 Instinctive run defender who keeps his eyes in the backfield while scraping down the line of scrimmage and generally locates the ball carrier quickly. Helps teammates with alignments. Can be over-aggressive and is vulnerable to play-action but shows adequate awareness in zone coverage.
Strength/Toughness 2 Downhill run stopper capable of holding his own in most phone-booth situations but chooses sides at times and can create running lanes when he doesn’t stay square to lead blockers. While his upper-body strength appears above-average and he flashes the ability to shed blocks quickly he is inconsistent in this area.
Range vs. Run 3 Lacks ideal closing speed and can take too long to slip blocks in space but takes sound angles to the ball and fast enough to make plays from sideline to sideline when protected by the defensive line.
Tackling 2 Uncoils on ball carriers and flashes the ability to stop them in their tracks. Reliable open-field tackler who generally wraps up when he gets hands on the ball carrier.
3rd Down Capabilites 3 Gets adequate depth in his drops and is a big hitter than can separate receivers from the ball, but he doesn’t show great range or ball skills in coverage. Stiff in the hips and is more fast than quick so he is going to have a difficult time matching up with backs in man coverage. Powerful pass rusher who can quickly discard blockers in the backfield and best fit may be at strong inside linebacker in a base 3-4 scheme.


  • Good height for position
  • Thick, cut, muscular frame
  • Highly athletic
  • Explosive
  • Good agility and can change directions quickly
  • Shows coordination and flexibility
  • Very strong and powerful
  • Sideline-to-sideline ability
  • Always around the football
  • Active
  • Fluid hips and can cover tight ends
  • Displays great range in zone
  • A productive playmaker
  • Tough
  • Versatile; any scheme player
  • Improved his ability when taking angles to the football
  • Stack-and-shed linebacker
  • Poised and under control
  • High upside
  • Nice overall skill set
  • Weaknesses:
  • Might lack some instincts
  • Talent hasn’t always shown through on field
  • Doesn’t have great timed speed
  • A little inconsistent
  • Could be a more effective blitzer
  • Needs to improve reaction skills
  • Minor durability concernsSummary: Johnson is a linebacker with a very high upside, but hasn’t caught the full attention of NFL scouts quite yet. If he can stay healthy next season, I think he is going to move up draft boards because of his impressive skill set and high upside.
  • Player Comparison: Jon Beason. Their body frames, physical approach to the game and range are very similar.

    Update January 3, 2010- The 2009 season did not go as well as hoped for Johnson and the Wildcats. Losses along the defensive line to graduation and the NFL left Johnson without the protection he enjoyed the year before with Myron Pryor and Jeremy Jarmon in front of him. Teams did a good job of scheming for him and as a result Johnson made fewer big plays this year despite racking up more tackles. In fact, his tackle totals are slightly misleading as well as while his 105 tackles led the Wildcats, he had 51 solo tackles compared to 54 assisted tackles, inflating his total tackles. His TFL dropped from 13.5 to 6.5, his sacks from 2.5 to 0 and he had no forced fumbles this year. Needless to say, the big year expected did not materialize.

    I kept him on the first round of my mock because I think when he gets to the all star games and workouts he will shine. Teams will see the big, fast, physical specimen and a 3-4 team will snatch him up early. I’d have to say that now though, his likely highwater mark will be the second round and he just may find himself going in rounds 4-5. If that’s the case, someone is getting one helluva steal.

    Middle Linebacker


    6-2 255

    40 time (projected): 4.71

    Draft board overall prospect rank: #83

    Draft board middle linebacker rank: #7

    Overall rating: 74*

    1/23/10: He could have gone in the 2nd round, because of his size, 6-2 258, experience in a 3-4 at Kentucky, and the fact that he was coming off of an amazing season for a 3-4 middle linebacker with 105 tackles and a sack, but then he got hurt in his bowl game and may miss both the combine and his pro day. How teams view his injured knee could determine if he gets drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round or the 4th or 5th. He’s a prototypical 3-4 middle linebacker, but his agility and timed speed aren’t good, projected 4.74-4.78 40, so I’m not sure what other positions he’ll be able to play or if he’ll fit a 4-3 at all.

    7/28/09: Micah Johnson is a very physical middle linebacker who is the prototypical 3-4 in terms of size. He’s very strong and has a great initial burst and both of those make him a great run stopping middle linebacker. He doesn’t have good sideline to sideline or chase speed, but he can plug up holes as a 3-4 middle linebacker and stuff running backs. His lack of timed speed will hurt him. A 40 in the 4.7s isn’t good at 255 pounds. He doesn’t have a lot of pass rushing abilities. He’s a very intense player and great leader, but he can be overaggressive and over pursue which gets him in trouble. He can keep up with tight ends in pass coverage and is a very tough physical matchup for even some of the biggest tight ends. He has trouble picking up faster running backs out of the backfield. He isn’t versatile. He’ll probably only be able to play 3-4 middle linebacker in the NFL. He’s not fast enough to play in a 4-3 or a cover 2. He’s not a good enough pass rusher. to play 3-4 rush linebacker or 4-3 end. His strength and burst make him a very good 3-4 run stuffing middle linebacker, but his lack of timed speed and versatility makes him a 3rd round prospect at best. He projects as a good 3-4 depth guy in the next level with borderline starter potential.

    NFL Comparison: Takeo Spikes

    NFL Draft

    Skinny: With his outstanding size and athleticism, Johnson is a force to be reckoned with. He possesses the physicality and lateral speed necessary to thrive at the linebacker position and his ability to shrug off blockers and attack the ball is uncanny. Johnson totaled 93 tackles, 13 for loss, and one forced fumble in 2008, despite missing two games with an ankle injury. He was the top inside linebacker recruit according to multiple national media sources, but disappointed early on in his career. Johnson improved during his sophomore season accumulating 59 tackles with just one start, before putting his name on the map with a stellar junior campaign. Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks says that Johnson still could stand to shred a few pounds and improve on passing situations. With his size, teams that employ a three-four scheme will take an extra long look at this ‘Cat.

    Our View: Johnson shows extraordinary range on the field. The man plays with fire and can hold his own in pass coverage. His only blemish is that he tends to be overaggressive at times, but that should change once he learns how to read offenses better. Johnson nearly came out last year but changed his mind upon being told that he’d probably end up being a fifth-round pick by the NFL advisory board.


    Medical Examiner: Missed two full games and part of another in 2008 due to injury.

    Honor Roll: Johnson was named first-team All-SEC by the coaches, second-team by Phil Steele, and honorable mention by the Associated Press in 2008. He was selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team by the coaches in 2006.

    High School: Johnson attended Ft. Campbell High School in Kentucky where he was considered one of the nation’s top prospects. He was an All-America choice by several outlets and was rated as the nation’s top inside linebacker by ESPN. He was named Mr. Football in Kentucky and won both the Paul Hornung and Roy Kidd Awards as state player of the year. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl following his senior season. He played both linebacker and running back, totaling 2,543 yards rushing, 46 touchdowns, and 293 tackles in just two seasons.

    Personal: Johnson is majoring in social work.

    Big Board Rankings

    NFL Draft 107

    Bartolis Summary and Final Verdict

    Micah Johnson is an intriguing prospect. Before the last season began it looked like Micah johnson had a shot to become the first linebacker drafted in the 2010 class, but he did not make as big a leap as people thought was possible.

    Micah Johnson played in the tough S.E.C. and without any other playmakers on his team played very well and at times was unstoppable.

    16 tackles vs Tennessee, great games vs Alabama and Auburn. The bigger the game the more Micah Johnson played. There are a couple of questions about Micah Johnson, but that’s true for many linebackers.

    The first is can he cover in space? Let’s be honest, this is a legetimate concern with MOST middle linebackers. Most middle linebackers don’t have the fluid hips and speed to cover in space (hence why teams try to get RB and WR against LB). What you’re looking for is does he close fast after a guy catches a ball? And B) does he have enough strength and speed to run with most tight ends?

    I think Johnson does.

    He is NOT Daryl Washington who has exceptional speed and range, but he’s a more punishing tackler. He is not the punishing tackler of Brandon Spikes, but he’s a better cover guy.

    Final Verdict

    Johnson has a great build and plays with great passion. Micah Johnson is one of my favorite second round targets for the New York Giants (as people know I’m not a fan of drafting a LB in the first round other than Rolando McClain at #15).

    There are many good options in round two which so far include DT Arthur Jones (a steal in the middle of round two), Brandon Spikes (another steal…unlikely he falls that far), and Micah Johnson. There are others (who will soon be profiled)

    If the Giants get Earl Thomas in the first round and Micah Johnson in the second round you couldnt’ ask for more as a New York Giants Fan.

    Previous profiles:

    DT Arthur Jones

    OT Bryan Baluga

    OT Anthony Davis

    DT Brian Price

    ILB Brandon Spikes

    S Earl Thomas

    ILB Rolando McClain

    RB C.J. Spiller

    S Taylor Mays

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    15 Responses to “Prospect Profiles: ILB Micah Johnson (Kentucky)”

    1. […] more: Prospect Profiles: ILB Micah Johnson (Kentucky) » Giants Gab tags: career, fans-should, games-the-last, giants, his-career, KENT, KENTUCKY, last-two, […]

    2. Steve B says:

      I agree that the only LB in the first I would take would be McClain. And I really, really, really want Earl Thomas in the first round (value and a need, and came from big school, Reese seems to like that in his 1st round picks).

      2nd round is my only concern, because some scouts/”experts” have him going in round 4-5. Although he does seem very powerful, and has potential, but coverage is a little bit of a concern. I would really like to see profiles on Daryl Washington and Sean Lee.

      Besides Earl Thomas in the first (dont think McClain will be avil), I have absolutely no idea what the Giants are thinking or going to do.

    3. JR says:

      I’m a UK grad and season ticket holder for UK football, and Micah Johnson is beast. He’s an incredible tackler, and spent a lot of time dropping into coverage because his team didn’t blitz a lot, and played a ton of nickel. I don’t look for him to have great 40 time at the combine, so I think he could be there in the second round for our Giants. He would be a big upgrade to our suspect linebacking corps.

    4. Kwayry says:

      Good read. I would like to add one more question to your list: Can this guy blitz and get there?
      So far I like McClain, who I think would look pretty good in blue next year. Price has also impressed in the Senior bowl.
      I am waiting to see Daryl Washington’s profile.

    5. steve says:

      i like this kid in the 4th 5th round let pierce show him da ropes play special teams
      if u can get kid like this and bring him along with our vet,in round 4th or 5th that would be great.

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