The team at Vikings Territory has been busy working to get to know each of our newest Vikings draft selections and this week we will give you a chance to learn everything we know about these players through our reintroduction of the “Welcome to the Big Show” series.
Next Up: DT Jaleel Johnson
Jaleel Johnson was born in New York City and spent his younger years growing up in a questionable area of Brooklyn. Before he entered high school, moved in with his aunt in Chicago in order to have a better opportunity to find success.
Johnson was a three-year starter on the defensive and offensive lines at St. Joseph high school from his freshman to his junior season. He also was a two-time letter winner on the St. Joseph wrestling team as a heavyweight.
When he was a senior, Johnson transferred to Montini Catholic High School and helped lead the Broncos to a state championship. He rapidly earned recognition as a four-star recruit and received scholarship offers from half of the Big Ten. After weighing the pros and cons of Iowa and Michigan State, Johnson ultimately chose to play for the Hawkeyes.
College Attended: Iowa
Collegiate Seasons: 4
Games Played: 34
Combined Tackles: 113
Tackles for Loss: 18.5
Pass Defenses: 3
Forced Fumbles: 0
Recovered Fumbles: 1
Weight: 316 pounds
Arm Length: 33 1/4″
Hand Size: 9 5/8″
40-Yard Dash: 5.38 seconds
Bench Press: 19 reps
Vertical Jump: 28″
Broad Jump: 100″
3-Cone Drill: 7.64 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.62 seconds
60-Yard Shuttle: N/A
- Savvy hand usage
- Excellent lower body strength
- Solid foot agility
- Packs a punch off the snap
- High motor
- Likes to work to edge of blocker
- Athletic testing didn’t compare favorably to film
- Unable to regain leverage when already lost
- Anchor to fill gaps against the run not there yet
- Slow recognition on screens and play-action
TALE OF THE TAPE
Jaleel Johnson surely brought an interesting dynamic to NFL war rooms on draft day. On tape, he’s a third-, possibly second-round talent. He constantly had his way with interior offensive linemen and proved to be one of the most valuable players on Iowa’s defense.
His athletic testing at the NFL combine may have brought the cloudy dynamic to war rooms. Many scouts and general managers weigh a prospect’s value heavily on how they perform at the combine because it generally gives an indication on how well that player will translate to the NFL.
Minnesota decided to trust Johnson’s film, and with good reason. The savvy hand usage, the quick jump and punch off the snap, the lower body strength and the high motor will all translate to the NFL. Johnson’s upside is slightly limited because of the athletic testing, but his ‘floor’ is considerably high for a fourth-round pick.
Lance Zierlein – NFL.com: “Active defensive tackle with the motor and athleticism to find production in the NFL. Johnson doesn’t have the functional anchor that teams looking for a run-stuffer will be after. However, his effort, foot quickness and hand usage should create opportunities for him as a pass rusher. Johnson has the talent to become an eventual starter as a three-technique in a penetrating defensive front and could fight for rotational reps early on as a rookie.”
Matt Miller – Bleacher Report: “A two-year starter at Iowa, Jaleel Johnson plays with outstanding awareness and football IQ. He understands hand use and can stack up blockers with his reach. Johnson passes the eye test and looks the part with a solid build. His length allows him to lock out offensive linemen, and he’s strong enough to prevent linemen from getting to the second level. A nose tackle prospect, Johnson can collapse pockets. He was a Senior Bowl invite and was powerful and more athletic than expected based on his tape. When Johnson keeps his pads down, he’s able to win with quickness.”
“Johnson isn’t an athlete and will struggle to penetrate NFL offensive lines. He’s a classic stalemate lineman. Poor leverage is an issue. Better pad height out of his stance would help him become a better pro. Johnson showed poor strength on film and in testing (19 bench reps), which is concerning for a player who will make his living stacking up blockers. He is much better working down the line than penetrating. In a two-gap scheme, it’s questionable if he could split a double-team.”
Mel Kiper – ESPN Insider: “Johnson appeared in 47 games while making all of 27 career starts over the past two seasons. Nearly doubled his production for sacks (7 1/2) and TFLs (10) in his 2nd year as a starter. Also displayed improved strength, particularly in his lower half (showed more of power element as a rusher and improved anchor vs the run). His combine test results were not reflective of explosiveness seen on tape: 5.38 40-dash, 1.91 10-spli, 28″ VJ and 8’4″ BJ were all below average. Johnson is best suited for a one-gap heavy scheme and he has a chance to develop into a starter down the line.”
SELECTION AND REACTION:
Bless you, Paul Allen.
— Jaleel Johnson (@leellxvii) April 30, 2017
Mark Dulgerian – NFL.com: “Vikings draft some insurance for Shariff Floyd. Johnson brings some versatility to the Vikings’ DL but he’s a run-stuffer first with some penetrating ability on pass downs.”
John Breitenbach – Pro Football Focus: “Johnson is a reliable interior run defender. With a diverse pass-rushing skill-set — illustrated by his pass-rushing productivity mark of 10.4 (eighth in the class) — Johnson represents a defensive tackle with starting potential.”
WalterFootball: “Make that two solid picks to start off the fourth round. The Vikings had to address defensive tackle with Sharrif Floyd’s future in question. Jaleel Johnson is a solid 4-3 nose tackle who can stuff the run very well. I had him going later in the fourth round, so the range is right.”
Spencer Hall – CBS Sports: “Good value here in the fourth round … helps to replace Sharrif Floyd. ”
Ben Goessling, ESPN: “There’s a case to be made that defensive tackle is the Vikings’ biggest question mark outside the offensive line, with Sharrif Floyd’s future in doubt, and Jaleel Johnson can step in and help at three-technique tackle if he’s able to use his strength effectively in the NFL. Johnson will likely compete with Datone Jones and Tom Johnson for playing time, and the Vikings should be able to expect the trio to provide a solid interior pass rush next to Linval Joseph.”
THE VIKINGS FIT
Johnson is another candidate from this rookie class to make an immediate impact from Week 1. Sharrif Floyd’s devastating injury concerns opened up a hole at 3-tech that Johnson and newly-acquired Datone Jones will look to fill.
The former Hawkeye best projects as a rotational contributor along the defensive line with slightly more action in rushing situations, with Jones’s pass-rushing prowess filling in on passing downs. Head coach Mike Zimmer and defensive line coach Andre Patterson like to get creative with their defensive front, and Johnson just adds more fuel to the fire from Day 1.
WELCOME TO THE BIG SHOW
LB Ben Gedeon, Michigan