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Scouting The Draft: Micah Johnson

Last year these articles were very popular so we're bringing them back again this year. Between now and the NFL Draft in four weeks, we'll be featuring some scouting reports written by the best college bloggers in the country. These are people who have probably seen every snap these players have participated in during their college years - which makes these reads rather interesting.

First up is one of my favorite inside linebackers in the draft - despite his disappointing Scouting Combine. Kentucky's Micah Johnson is an ideal mid-round two down linebacker. And to tell us more about Johnson, let's welcome in "Truzenzuzex" from A Sea of Blue - SBN's Kentucky Wildcats blog. Below are his thoughts on Micah along with Johnson's Combine numbers.

Micah Johnson

Height: 6'1 1/2" / Weight: 258
40: 5.01 / Arm: 32" / Bench Reps: 31

Micah Johnson played the Mike linebacker in Kentucky's 4-3 defensive scheme.  Micah was slotted as a strong side DE coming out of high school, but Kentucky refused to move him to that spot even in 2006 when we could have really used him there.  UK wanted him as a linebacker, and that's where he stayed.

Johnson is a strong, versatile body who is extremely powerful stopping the run.  He was able to handle most SEC tailbacks inside with ease due to his size and strength, and he is a determined player with a terrific motor that doesn't seem to have an off switch.  Johnson was the leading tackler for the Wildcats in tackles per game in 2008 and 2009, both seasons averaging over 8/game, and was 8th and 5th in the SEC in 2008 and 2009 respectively.  Johnson led the Wildcats in tackles for loss in 2008 and was 4th on the team in the same stat in 2009.  Was also a 2-time second team all-SEC selection.

Johnson performed poorly at the combine, but much better at the recent UK Pro Day.

Powerful body that can fend off tacklers and fill the gaps reliably and he reads plays very well.  He is tough, resilient, and finishes tackles.  Johnson is not particularly fast for an inside linebacker, but he is very good at finding the shortest path to maximum effectiveness.  Johnson hits extremely hard, and very few backs can break away from his strength, even if they aren't dropped by his thunderous initial contact.

Micah Johnson can blow hot and cold, and sometimes had a tendency to disappear for parts of a game when you would figure his name would get called a lot.  He doesn't have great lateral speed, and doesn't change directions particularly well.  His speed is adequate, but not remarkable.  He has a somewhat limited range and his lack of lateral speed makes him less than totally effective in the open field.

Johnson is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in the 2009 Music City Bowl, but is expected to fully recover.

A big thanks to "Truzenzuzex" for helping us out. So what are your thoughts on Micah?