The Kansas City Chiefs would lose to the Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 in the AFC Championship, eliminating their hopes of a third consecutive Super Bowl appearance. With the loss, the Chiefs will now select at No. 30 in the 1st round of the 2022 NFL Draft. General manager Brett Veach could use this pick in many different ways. This topic will be spread out into numerous articles as we complete a deep dive into the NFL Draft. The first way he can use the pick will be on the defensive end position and a player named Jermaine Johnson from Florida State University.
The Kansas City Chiefs Need Defensive End Help
At the time of writing this article, the current players on the Chiefs’ roster at the defensive end position are Frank Clark, Michael Danna, Joshua Kaindoh, and Michael Herring. The defensive end is a must-fill position and a position that has lacked production for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Frank Clark was traded to the KC and signed a monster five-year, $104,000,000 contract. Needless to say, he never lived up to that contract, and the front office could part ways this offseason. In three years with the Chiefs, Frank Clark played in 43 games getting 88 combined tackles, 24 tackles for a loss, one interception, five forced fumbles, six pass deflections, and 18.5 sacks.
The Chiefs Could Draft Jermaine Johnson from Florida State
Jermaine Johnson measurements:
Height: 6’ 5”
Weight: 262 lbs.
Class: Red-shirt senior
Georgia/Florida State Career:
2019-20: 20 Total Tackles (9 Solo, 11 Ast), 3 TFL, 2.5 sacks
2020-21: 16 Total Tackles (11 Solo, 5 Ast), 5 TFL, 4 sacks
2021-22: 70 Total Tackles (34 Solo, 36 Ast), 18 TFL, 12 sacks
Jermaine Johnson was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and has been a standout player. According to Lance Zierlein and Chase Goodbread from NFL.com,
"“After transferring from Georgia to Florida State prior to the 2021 season, Johnson made an immediate impact as a run defender, but it was obvious that he was still developing as a pass rusher. In Tuesday’s practice, Johnson clearly showed that he has been putting in work on his pass rush during his preparation for the Senior Bowl. He attacked with a rip-and-run move, a bull rush, an inside spin move, and even the always challenging outside spin move. Johnson’s spins were fluid and fast, and they looked translatable to the next level. I had a first-round grade on Johnson entering this week, and with more flashes like the ones we saw on Tuesday, I certainly won’t be alone in that projection. He made money on Tuesday.”"
Joe Marino from thedraftnetwork.com, breaks down Jermaine Johnson and provides tremendous insight into his ability from a multitude of perspectives. This is important when it comes to evaluating talent especially the specific position.
First Step Explosiveness: Johnson is quick off the ball and he does well to marry his strides to his rush plan. He’s clean when releasing from a two or three-point stance and absent of false steps. While he isn’t a speed rusher, he has plenty of juice available to deploy his rush plan.
Flexibility: Johnson is fully capable of winning around the outside hip of offensive tackles because of his ability to soften rush angles, reduce the path to the quarterback, press through the angle, flatten, and finish. While he has modest overall bend, he has good ankle flexion that enables him to corner the arc.
Hand Counters: Johnson’s hands are busy and he does well to work combinations to get off blocks and control reps. He has good timing and placement with his hands. In a full-time role with Florida State in 2021, Johnson’s rush variety was on full display and he has plenty of different tools in his bag to affect the quarterback when it comes to hand usage.
Length: Johnson has excellent length and he knows how to use it. He effectively uses his length to maintain separation from blocks and execute his rush plan. His length shows up as he closes on the quarterback, often tackling the quarterback outside of his frame because of how he can extend. It’s also a major asset against the run where he’s able to stack, shed, and tackle with consistency.
Hand Power: Johnson has firm hands that are not easily displaced. He maximizes the pop in his punch with good timing and placement with his strikes. His hands are weapons for him when working to soften angles and work around the edges of blockers.
Run Defending: Johnson demonstrates good power to exchange at the point of attack, set a firm edge, and squeeze gaps as a run defender. He appears comfortable in space and can work laterally to the sideline. Overall, he has good range as a run defender with a large tackle radius. Johnson understands the nuances of defending the run in terms of taking on pullers, feeling reach blocks, and competing for his gap.
Effort (Motor): Johnson is a relentless football player that is urgent in everything he does. Johnson is a smart defender that is never passive. He keeps working hand counters throughout every snap and is never content being blocked. His motor constantly runs hot. His workload increased dramatically in 2021 at Florida State compared to what it was at Georgia and he embraced the opportunity. Even with playing a large percentage of the snaps for the Seminoles, I love how he consistently made an impact late in games when his team needed it most.
Football IQ: Johnson is an extremely smart processor with a natural feel for diagnosing blocks, responding, and filling his role. He takes good angles to the ball and is committed to playing with sound technique and low pads. Even in limited snaps at Georgia, it was obvious that Johnson is a smart football player that executes what he is coached to do.
Lateral Mobility: Johnson has good lateral movement skills and is fully capable of pursuing toward the sideline or crashing down as a backside defender. His lateral mobility is maximized by taking precisely calculated angles with terrific vision and the ability to play off contact. He changes directions well and shows some comfort in space.
Versatility: Johnson has appeal as a hand-in-the-dirt 4-3 defensive end and as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He’s a balanced defender that makes an impact as a pass rusher and run defender. Overall, he doesn’t offer much in the way of limitations.
Jermaine Johnson to the Kansas City Chiefs?
Kansas City is in dire need of a pass rush with Alex Okafor and Melvin Ingram hitting the free-agent market it makes it that much more of a need. According to ESPN, the Chiefs were ranked 29 out of 32 teams in sacks, only collecting 31 on the season. Jermaine Johnson would plug right into not only a need but would provide a youthful motivation. General manager Brett Veach has turned to the Reese’s Senior Bowl for multiple draft picks. More recently center Creed Humphrey was a Reese’s Senior Bowl participant and was selected in the 2nd round with pick No. 63 in the 2021 NFL Draft.