Buddy Johnson, LB
School: Texas A&M University | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6’0.5” / 229 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 7th - UDFA
Player Comparison: Justin Durant
After playing linebacker, running back, wide receiver, and quarterback in high school, Buddy Johnson chose Texas A&M over Baylor, Illinois, Arizona, and UC Berkley. Despite not starting his first two years, Johnson was fairly productive and stood out as a special teams player. His junior year, Johnson started each game and led the team in tackles. He led the team in tackles again as a senior and served as captain for a defense that ranked ninth overall by season’s end.
· Crashes into blockers, stunning them so he can shed them
· Solid hitter and tackler
· Plays his best in the box as a run stopper
· Core special teamer and team captain
· A little undersized for the position
· Overall awareness and instincts need improvement
· Can have a hard time making his way to the ball carrier
· Lack of awareness makes him a liability in coverage
Let’s See His Work
Texas A&M ILB Buddy Johnson is great run defender w/the ability to take on & shed blocks. Great pursuit, instincts as a run-and-chase LB at the 2nd level w/pop behind his tackles. Tough, vocal leader. Served as Aggies team captain.— WBG84 (@WBG84) April 17, 2021
ST's ace w/557 career ST's snaps. #TogetherBlue pic.twitter.com/QgPq05hm7k
Buddy Johnson is a LB prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.22 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 167 out of 2137 LB from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/dWzxWCUbny #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/2LeGOTXtmW— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 14, 2021
How He Fits On The Team
I had trouble finding much game tape of Buddy Johnson, but his game against South Carolina wasn’t impressive. Many times, he appeared lost. He was often easily fooled by play-action and read-option plays. He took bad paths to the ball carrier. In coverage, he loses track of his assignments. However, he takes on blockers aggressively and when he finds the ball carrier, he hits them hard and gets them down. He flashes traits of a solid NFL linebacker from time to time, but he needs to be more consistent.
I think linebacker will be addressed on the first two days of the draft, but many people want to add more than one player at the position. Although I’ve seen Johnson ranked outside the draft, his athletic profile, special teams ability, and leadership might see him drafted late on Day 3. I think Johnson would be a good player to bring into camp and compete for a roster spot. He seems to be the type of player that fits the culture that Rivera is trying to build here. He played MIKE linebacker at Texas A&M, so he could provide depth at that position. He should have a good chance to make the roster as our linebacker depth is not full of world beaters. Even if he can’t make the roster, he would be a good practice squad candidate. It would give him time to learn the defense and improve his weaknesses in coverage.