Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson had pre-draft visit with the Lions
As the Detroit Lions mine the draft market of edge rushers, Jermaine Johnson has been in for a pre-draft visit.
The Detroit Lions got another look at Aidan Hutchinson during their local Pro Day on Monday, and on Tuesday Kayvon Thibodeaux is in town for a visit. But the edge rusher class in this draft is deep. To that end, insider Jordan Schultz reported Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson II was in Detroit for a pre-draft visit on Monday.
If only based on a mock draft from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Johnson was garnering some buzz as an option for the Lions with the second overall pick. That has faded. But he’s still a likely first-round pick, and he may go in the top half of the opening round. The fact his top-30 visit to Detroit came before Thibodeaux’s is not meaningful, and most likely just a product of when schedules were open.
Jermaine Johnson could still be in play as a first-rounder for the Lions
Johnson spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons at Georgia, serving in a small role for a loaded defensive line that has sent multiple well-regarded prospects into the upcoming draft. In search of more playing time, he transferred to Florida State. All he did was win ACC Defensive Player of the Year last year, with 12 sacks, 70 total tackles, 18 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
At the NFL Combine, at 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds, Johnson ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has compared him to Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby, and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah offered Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter as a comp for Johnson.
Johnson is ranked as a top-10 prospect in this draft in a couple places (Pro Football Network, The Draft Network), and he’s regarded as the third-best edge rusher in this class by some (behind Hutchinson and Thibodeaux). The broader consensus on him is not quite that lofty, but if he falls to the late-first or into the second round someone may get a steal.
Johnson is likely not legitimately in play for the Lions at second overall. But if they traded down from that pick, or up from No. 32 after making an non-edge rusher/defensive line pick at No. 2, he might be someone they target.