The Kansas City Chiefs selected inside linebacker, Nico Johnson, in the 4th round of last years draft. I mean why not? Johnson won multiple national titles under Nick Saban’s watch while attending Alabama. He played well in Saban’s system and earned a reputation of being a force against the run and he fell all the way to the fourth round.
It made sense for Kansas City to be looking at Nico Johnson. He’s a run stuffing inside linebacker that could compliment Derrick Johnson nicely in the 3-4 scheme that they run. Unfortunately though, Nico started last season hurt and eventually lost the starting role to Akeem Jordan, who played well but, has since moved onto the Washington Redskins.
Johnson never saw any real playing time in 2013, not even in the game at San Diego where half the starters didn’t play. Jordan took majority of the starting snaps in the basic 3-4 plays and either player was on the field in sub packages. Still, Johnson finished 3rd in tackles for the team despite seeing limited snaps, showing flashes of the tackling abilities he’s been praised for by scouts.
So entering the off-season of 2014, we wondered what the Chiefs plans were in case they decided not to bring Akeem Jordan back. Perhaps it’s time for Nico Johnson to take over that spot? Wrong, instead John Dorsey brought in journey man, Joe Mays, formerly of the Eagles, Broncos, and Texans.
Mays brings experience and hard-hitting to the team and he will be Nico Johnson’s main competition for the starting role once practice begins. So it brings us to the question, what’s the plan for Nico Johnson?
The Chiefs knew what they were getting when they drafted Him, a strong run defender with solid tackling skills but, needs time to develop other tools of his game if he wants to be a starting linebacker in the NFL.
With that said, it makes sense for the Chiefs to be signing stop-gap guys like Jordan and Mays to try to buy some time for Johnson as he develops. But if that is the plan, then why did he such limited time last season, even down the final stretch of games when he was healthy?
Lots of questions surround Nico Johnson and what his role is for the Chiefs moving forward. John Dorsey believes in drafting and developing his own talent, so we know they’re not giving up on him just yet. Nico has a chance to really impress the coaches this off-season and start to make a serious impact for the team in year two.
It will start with him staying healthy.
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