Draft Scout Snapshot: A closer look at the Browns' drafts: Round 4/120 - James-Michael Johnson, LB, 6-1, 241, Nevada...The Browns need a backup for D'Qwell Jackson after not tendering Titus Brown. Johnson will be a major contributor on special teams. - The Sports Xchange
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Nevada defenders have a tough time trying to make people take notice of their play because of the team's offense, which ranked fourth in the FBS in total yardage in 2010. But Johnson's toughness and production has not escaped notice of WAC coaches, who named him second-team all-conference in each of the last two seasons, and NFL scouts.
Johnson played in all 13 games with 10 starts as a redshirt freshman. Included in his 49 tackles were 12.5 for a loss, and he also had 1.5 sacks, an interception and forced fumble. He started every game over the next two seasons, making 57 tackles, 11.5 for loss, and five pass break-ups on the outside in 2009 before moving to the middle as a junior (88 tackles, eight TFL, 2.5 sacks, three forced fumbles).
Teams running base schemes should see Johnson as one of the top true mike linebackers in this draft because of his ability to come downhill against the run.
Positives: Tough between-the-tackles defender who shimmies past blockers to fill lanes. Downhill, aggressive run-stuffer with enough strength to stop ballcarriers in the hole. Vocal leader and team captain. Shows some flexibility to loop to the quarterback as a pass rusher. Gets his hands in the passing lanes. Effort is there in coverage.
Negatives: Limited vision and is easily fooled by misdirection. Lacks range and lateral agility in coverage. Not often used as a blitzer. Average at best changing direction. Builds to top speed and must take the right line to beat backs to the edge.
Honors candidate who should contend for Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Western Athletic Conference ... Has been named to the watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Award (nation's top defensive player) and the Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) ... Has been named preseason All-WAC by a number of publications.
Started and appeared in all 13 games in 2011...second on the team with 100 total tackles, including 5.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Was named a team captain in voting by his teammates and earned second-team All-WAC honors as a linebacker ... Led the team and was among WAC leaders with 88 tackles on the year from his new middle linebacking spot after switching from the outside prior to the season ... Set a career high with 10 tackles in a win at BYU ... Eclipsed that with 11 tackles in a come-from-behind win at Fresno State ... Notched 8.0 tackles for loss on the season, including 2.5 sacks for a loss of 17 yards ... Forced three fumbles during the year and also recovered a fumble ... Was credited with a pair of pass breakups ... Had no fewer than four tackles in any game during the course of the season.
Had a strong sophomore campaign, earning second-team All-WAC honors for the first time in his career Started all 12 games at one of the outside linebacker spots and excelled with 57 tackles, including 11.5 for a loss Started strong with 10 tackles at Notre Dame and had a TFL in half of the teams games Notched second career interception with a pick against New Mexico State Was credited with five pass breakups Was a force in a victory over Fresno State, registering six tackles, including a career-high 4.0 for a loss Named third-team Preseason All-WAC by Phil Steele's College Football Preview Named second-team Preseason All-WAC by Athlon Sports.
Recorded one of the best seasons among freshmen on the team Was sixth on the team in tackles during the season with 49 Was third on the team in tackles for a loss with 12.5 for a loss of 32 yards Had 1.5 sacks Best game came at Louisiana Tech with nine tackles, including 2.5 for a loss Notched first career interception at Hawaii Forced a fumble against Idaho Played in all 13 games with 10 starts.
A graduate of Rodriguez High School in Fairfield, Calif....Lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track & field during high school career...Holds the school record for most sacks...Was an all-league, all-city and all-county selection in both football and basketball.
Born James-Michael Johnson on Aug. 20, 1989 in Vallejo, Calif....Son of Jamesette and Michael Johnson...Has two older sisters, Alisha and Myleka...Plans to major in business...Enjoys coaching basketball in his free time...Cousin, Jerome Boyd, is a linebacker at Oregon.
Draft Scout Player News
12/21/12 - LB James-Michael Johnson will miss the rest of the season after being put on injured reserve with a knee injury. Johnson played well at strong-side linebacker as a rookie, but his replacement, Craig Robertson, also had a good year in spot duty. It's possible the Browns will use a combination of L.J. Fort in base and Robertson in nickel with Johnson out.
12/20/12 - LB James-Michael Johnson was placed in injured reserve with a knee injury. He will not need surgery.
12/09/12 - LB James-Michael Johnson left with a thigh bruise but returned.
10/29/12 - LB James-Michael Johnson has returned from an oblique muscle strain and had 10 tackles and forced a Ryan Matthews fumble. Johnson was slated to start the opener but was hurt in the second half of the final preseason game.
10/11/12 - LB James-Michael Johnson could get more playing time this week with LB Scott Fujita nursing a shoulder/neck injury. Johnson was slated to start outside until he was sidelined in the final preseason game with a strained oblique muscle. It has taken him this long to be fully healthy.