2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Gary Johnson
Position: Inside Linebacker
School: The University of Texas
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 226 pounds
Draft Projection: Day 3
Despite decent sack totals, Johnson appears more like a blitzer than pass rusher does. His rush set predicates primarily on speed and the knack for streaking by the blocker. If he learns better hand placement on the blitz, his efficiency in getting home should rise rather rapidly.
Whether on the perimeter or between the tackles, Johnson slides through the was to make the play. However, at times, he will occasionally take one step too many and will slip out of position. Yet, he recovers well and attacks the play. The lone issue is when blockers lock on. Johnson encounters difficulty when he needs to shed powerful blockers.
Johnson exhibits plus speed for linebackers. He can beat backs to the corner, blitz between the A gaps or trail a tight end in short areas. More importantly, he closes with urgency.
Right now, Johnson profiles as a backup linebacker. Paul Guenther prefers his middle linebackers with a bit more size.
In breaking down Johnson within this trait, you must split his approach into parts. When he takes an angle, his tracking looks smooth, even when the ballcarrier veers away. To his credit, Johnson adjusts to every situation. With his range, Johnson arrives at the ball, with quick hands and snap to his leg drive. While he is not a pop tackler, Johnson shows the ability to rip the ball out.
Regardless of whom the Raiders draft in the first round, the team still lacks meaningful linebacker depth. As a result, that fact also hinders the special teams unit. Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia needs an aggressive player like Johnson on coverage teams. More importantly, time covering kicks will give him the time to learn the defense and the nuance of an NFL defense. Whenever he does completely grasp the scheme, the Raiders will enjoy a speedy linebacker that excels in space. On top of that, Johnson displays no hesitation or reticence when jumping into the fray.