Five Things to Know About Jermaine Johnson II

Florida State DE Jermaine Johnson II during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Clemson, S.C.

Johnson Fits the Prototypical Ravens Outside Linebacker

At 6-foot-4 with an 83-inch wingspan, Johnson has the size and versatility to make plays as both a standup pass rusher and a run-stopper who can set the edge, in the mold of Terrell Suggs, Za'Darius Smith and Matthew Judon. The Ravens were hoping to bring back Smith during free agency, but he backed out of a deal with Baltimore and signed with Minnesota. Tyus Bowser, who led the Ravens with seven sacks last season, is coming off an Achilles injury in the 2021 season finale and his recovery time remains uncertain. Finding an edge rusher remains a top defensive priority, and Johnson remains a player frequently linked to Baltimore in mock drafts. Adding Johnson would give new Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald a chess piece to move around the defense, something he did as Michigan's defensive coordinator with versatile players.

If Johnson Falls to No. 14, He Could Be a Steal

Johnson has reportedly visited with the Lions, who have the No. 2 pick and the Jets, who have the No. 4 pick. They may be considering a trade-back scenario to grab Johnson, but it's clear his stock is rising as the draft nears. Johnson had a huge week at the Senior Bowl, he was impressive at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he is apparently leaving a positive impressive during his pre-draft interviews. Johnson came off as a hungry player at the Combine who wants to prove he's the top edge rusher in the draft.

His Career Took Off After Transferring from Georgia to Florida State

Johnson played his first two college seasons at Georgia, as part of a monster front seven that had four other players expected to be first-round picks – defensive linemen Travon Walker, Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis and inside linebacker Nakobe Dean. However, Johnson wasn't getting the playing time he wanted so he transferred to Florida State to finish his college career. Johnson knew that decision would raise some eyebrows, but that didn't deter him.

"It's a bad stigma to go from the SEC to another conference, I knew what the stigma was, Johnson said at the Combine. "I knew what the perception was. I control what I can control. Everything I can, I put in God's hands. And I made a deal with (FSU) coach (Mike) Norvell that I'd invest everything I could in that university and the city of Tallahassee."

Johnson blew up during his one season at Florida State with 11.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. He was a disruptive defender who routinely defeated double teams. The Seminoles moved him around, allowing Johnson to make plays as both a standup outside linebacker and a defensive lineman with his hand in the dirt.

Johnson Wants to Prove He Wasn't a One-Year Wonder

Johnson only had one season in college where he put up dominant stats, and some scouts question if he would have become a star if he stayed in the SEC.

"The only question mark on me is I've had this one year of really good production," he said. "But I think if I had the same snaps before, I would've done the same thing. The one year of production, that (made people say) 'OK, where did this guy come from?' I've been there all along, and I finally got the opportunity to show that.

"I just needed to be in the right place and play to actually be the Jermaine Johnson I know I am for a team.

You May Have Seen Johnson on Netflix

Johnson was one of the featured players on Netflix's hit series "Last Chance U" when he played at Independence Community College. He didn't have the grades to qualify for a Division I school out of high school, but he made the most of his experience at Independence, and he talks to other players about that experience.

"I played 18 months in Independence, Kan., in the middle of nowhere," Johnson said. "So there was a point where I was at the bottom of the bottom. And I always say that there's guys wishing that they can be where you are, wishing in the middle of nowhere with no money, no clothes, nothing to eat, like they're wishing they can have that. So I just bring stories like that up from where I came from. And from that perspective, I think it always keeps myself humble and hopefully it humbles them."

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