April 23, 2014

Pick #120: Browns Select ILB James-Michael Johnson

Coming into this year’s draft, one obvious need for the Browns was defensively playmakers. After a few head-scratching moves in a row, the team might have finally worked on that need with the pick of ILB James-Michael Johnson in the late fourth round.

Johnson, a long-time durable starter from Nevada, who previously was on the strong side, was a two-time team captain and is rated as having above average range and take-on skills, according to ESPN. He is rated as the No. 122 player overall on ESPN’s Big Board, meaning the Browns actually weren’t too far off on this one based on initial expectations.

Last season, Johnson had 100 tackles, including seven for loss and two sacks. He has long arms with good upper strength (23 reps of 225 at the combine) with above average closing speed (he clocked in with a 4.6 40 time). He’s rated as being average at tackling, instincts and third-down capabilities. He’s likely going to be a backup to D’Qwell Jackson and an immediate contributor on special teams.

As a reminder, this was one of the picks acquired from the Denver Broncos yesterday. The Browns acquired the No. 87 pick (DT John Hughes) and this pick  from Denver for the No. 67 selection (RB Ronnie Hillman).

The next pick for the Browns is the 25th selection in the fifth round, also previously acquired from Denver. We’ll see you in an hour or so folks, barring anything new.

[Related: Pick #100: Browns Select WR Travis Benjamin]

  • Rciofani

    Could’ve lived with LBs. Would’ve preferred one of the receivers that just went.

  • Humboldt

    “He’s rated as being average at tackling…”

    Not a sentence one wants to hear about a linebacker. I do like that we now have an heir apparent to the Eddie/Mike Johnson linebacker lineage. 

  • RGB

    I feel like I’m stuck in a rerun of Major League…
    “Who are these f’n guys?…”

  • Kaylo1999

    I’m done watching this slow motion abortion. Wake me up when the buckeyes kick off. Way to go browns! Welcome to Cleveland TRich, you’ll get used to this…eventually. And Jim brown was right. You are ordinary, here. Anywhere else, extraordinary.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Scott @ WFNY

    Sounds like a run-stopper who is good in the open field due to his form. Weaknesses appear to be on passing downs.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    Hooray, finally a pick that makes sense!  This guy played ILB and OLB in college, so he’s flexible.  He’s got good speed, which you need as an OLB.  Good pick.

  • http://twitter.com/Pelderskelter Patrick Elder

    I know we all think we have the ultimate knowledge of these guys’ rankings because we’ve read some big boards and mock drafts, but I think the draft is much more enjoyable when you withhold judgement. 

    Anyways, I really like this pick. I think he’s got a high floor and a high ceiling, given his impressive athleticisim (his 40 time was above average… for an OLB. He’s an ILB) and his solid production. This addresses a need, and is seemingly good value. I likes it.

  • Derek

    Can we at least wait until training camp before we write these players and team off? It’s like Heckert’s two previous drafts mean nothing. I remember this same reaction before. Who is Ward, Taylor, Sheard etc.?  Step away from the ledge. It is only April.  

  • Big Z

    Haven’t you heard? The sky is falling because the Browns are drafting players who are good at stopping the run.

  • cmm13

    Peoples opinions on players they know nothing about which are based on “big boards” created by most people who nothing about the player to begin with.

    Cleveland, Oh….I live here.

    PS – this comment is not directed towards anyone here. But towards most “Browns fans” I hear day in and day out.