Redskins add ILB Gary Johnson to Support Depleted Linebacker Corps

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Gary Johnson (33) was the heart of the Texas Longhorns defense. He was acquired by the Washington Redskins Saturday. (Credit: University of Texas Athletics)

The Washington Redskins added inside linebacker Gary Johnson to their depleted linebacking corps Saturday afternoon.

Johnson, most recently of the Kansas City Chiefs, was an undrafted free agent from the University of Texas.

In Austin, he played in 26 games with 20 starts and was considered the heart of the Longhorn defense. Over the course of his career, he has compiled 150 tackles (96 solo), 22.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and also forced three fumbles.

What’s notable about Johnson is his athletic profile. He was tied for the second fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, with a 4.43 time. This put him on par with Michigan Linebacker Devin Bush and and one-hundreth of a second slower than LSU’s Devin White (4.42 seconds). Bush and White were both selected in the top 10 of April’s draft.

You can see Gary Johnson’s advanced stats from Player Profiler here:

Gary Johnson’s athletic profile is charted above. In parenthesis is his percentile scores relative to other players at his position. (Credit: PlayerProfiler.Com)

Although Johnson has impressive straight-line speed, his lateral quickness has been criticized and he is deemed as more of a “downhill” linebacker as opposed to someone who can cover in space. In fact, when projecting Johnson, NFL.Com’s Lance Zuerlein claimed “there’s a future as a special teamer with speed”.

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Hopefully Johnson can exceed expectations, as he was a standout at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. Prior to Texas, he was rated as the fourth best Junior College (JUCO) player (according to Rivals), and the nation’s best linebacker at that level (247Sports, ESPN). He peaked as a second team All-Big 12 last season for the Longhorns.

Any abled body is welcomed at Ashburn, as the Redskins have seen their linebackers group take a hit. Former defensive captain, Mason Foster was released a day before training camp. Reuben Foster was lost for the year with an ACL tear. Cole Holcomb is on the mend with a sprained AC Joint, and Josh Harvey-Clemons is being evaluated for concussion-like symptoms.

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