Jaleel Johnson 2017 NFL Draft Profile

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Position: Interior defender (one-technique)
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 309
School: Iowa Hawkeyes

Jaleel Johnson 2017 NFL Draft Profile

Iowa has had a strong history of producing talented defensive tackles who have been drafted by the NFL. From Karl Klug in 2011 to Mike Daniels in 2013 and Carl Davis in 2015, they have been pumping out prospects every other year since 2011. Johnson is yet another in the long line of talented interior players and will be a high pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

Johnson was born in New York, but moved to Illinois as a youth. He went to high school in Lombard, IL in the Chicago area and was a four-star recruit, and the third best player in the state coming out of high school. He wanted to stay close to home, and with the recent success of the Hawkeyes, was drawn to Iowa. Due to the talent and depth that this reputation had created, Johnson hardly saw the field in his first two seasons. Over that span he recorded 1.5 sacks, and 12 tackles, 3.5 for loss.

In 2015, Carl Davis had graduated, and Johnson finally got a starting nod. Johnson instantly took advantage and put up 45 tackles along with 5.5 for loss to go with 3.5 sacks. Still, he had room to grow and did just that in his senior season. He put up 56 tackles, 10 for loss and added 7.5 sacks. It was enough to have Davis named first team All-Big 10.


  • Wins with power.
  • Strong footwork.
  • Has refined hand usage.
  • Able to shed blocks, and uses arm extension to create separation.
  • Relentless as a pass rusher.
  • Great lower body strength.
  • Can be an anchor on the inside


  • Stands up at times and can be out-leveraged.
  • Hasn’t handled double teams well.
  • Slow to recognize where the ball is going in the run game.
  • Not a lateral runner and cannot chase down quarterbacks out of the pocket.

NFL Comparison: Kawann Short

Teams with needs at position: Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans

Projection: second round

Bottom Line:

Johnson reminds you of Short in how they use their lower body strength and power to push through the offensive line and create disruption in the interior. Johnson has a really wide base, and for the power and push that he can create, he is actually finesse in his hand and feet movement. His footwork is timed perfectly and he can read the offensive line and find ways to wiggle around or through them.

His hand work is very advanced, and it is what gives him the ability to scoot past lineman and disengage from one-on-one contact. He uses the combination to of strength and finesses to consistently find himself in the backfield.

Of course, he is not a perfect prospect. He struggles with leverage and tends to get stood up at times. He can beat double teams with power but has no counter moves, and when he is out-leveraged, he can be pushed aside or sealed off in the run game. As he gets more experience in the game, he should only grow and with his advanced foot and hand movements, he has a generally high ceiling.

It will keep him in the first three rounds, and he may end up closer to round one than he does round three. Expect Johnson to follow in the long line of Hawkeyes who are churning out consistent career paths in the NFL.


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