The 2022 NFL Combine has officially wrapped. At last, I have the data to finalize my official scouting reports. I’ve been hard at work grinding the tape to bring you detailed breakdowns of some of the top prospects available to the Atlanta Falcons throughout the draft, and I’m excited to finally share them with you now.
First, if you’re unfamiliar with my scouting reports from previous years, you can read about my grading system here. Please keep in mind this system is still in development, and may be adjusted as more data points come in.
I’m going to kick things off with one of my favorite players in the draft and a top target for the Falcons: Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson.
EDGE | Jermaine Johnson | Florida State
Games watched: Notre Dame, Miami (FL), North Carolina, Senior Bowl
Jermaine Johnson is a prototypical, scheme-versatile edge rusher from Florida State. After struggling to find playing time at Georgia, he transferred to FSU for the 2021 season and had a tremendous year. His production in a featured role was exceptional, and Johnson made a serious case for himself to be included in the top EDGE prospects of the 2021 class. Johnson also put together an incredible week at the Senior Bowl, and was the most impressive overall player in attendance.
It’s easy to see why NFL teams will fall in love with Johnson. His frame is well-proportioned and muscular, and he’s got potentially elite arm length. Johnson is quick off the line of scrimmage and pairs that with impressive lateral mobility and enough flexibility to turn the corner. He’s also a powerful player with the strength to reduce to 5T and hold his own against double teams.
Johnson played all over the defensive line for FSU and looked comfortable rushing from both 2 and 3-point stances. He’s also a very smart player and a quick processor who is seldom out of position. As both a run defender and pass rusher, Johnson has the look of an early starter who still has room to grow in terms of hand technique and pass rushing moves. I like Johnson as a back-half of the first round edge rusher who has a high ceiling and provides immediate starting ability.
Excellent explosiveness. Can cover an impressive amount of ground in a hurry. Very good at timing the snap and often catches opposing linemen off guard with his quickness.
Flexibility/Lateral Mobility: 6
Good flexibility for his size. Seems comfortable playing in space and changes direction easily.
Hand Technique: 7
Excellent hand usage and variety of moves. Several plans of attack, including a spin. His hands are powerful and he creates a lot of pop on contact.
One of his best traits. Prototypical frame with elite length. Hard for OTs to get a hand on him. Very good at using his length to his advantage. Big tackle radius an asset in run D.
Powerful player. Rarely pushed off the line and can win with his bull rush. Will dominate TEs and can hold his own against double teams. Very good finisher.
Run Defense: 7
Excellent here. Strong and will frequently push back opposing tackles. Frequently held his own against double teams on the outside. Plays smart, gap-sound football. Big tackle radius and strong hands make him an asset against the run.
Competitive Toughness: 7
Excellent competitor. Enthusiastic and plays hard. Continuously looks for work as a pass rusher. Will let off the gas a little too early in pursuit if he thinks he’s out of the play.
Football IQ: 8
Smart and patient player. Under control. Rarely falls for misdirection or play action. Plays his gap consistently and correctly. Quick processor who is seldom out of position.
Excellent production. Standout 2021 season with 17.5 TFL and 11.5 sacks. 33 solo tackles (70 total) as a run defender. Also added two batted passes, 2 FF, and a defensive TD.
Saw reps at 5T, 7T, and 9T. Rushed frequently from a 2-PT and 3-PT stance. Also saw some reps lined up as an A-gap blitzer. Limited work on twists and stunts. Very rarely dropped into coverage but has the athleticism to cover a short-zone adequately.
Athleticism: 9.56u RAS, 19/20
Elite athlete, both on tape and in terms of testing. Outstanding 40, 20-yard split, and 10-yard split for his size. Excellent broad jump. Average vertical. No agility testing at Combine, will update with numbers from his Pro Day.