until Texas vs Kansas

Friday, April 22


Defending Derrick

The Sporting News's Dan Pompei offers this take on Texas LB Derrick Johnson:

"Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson, who is expected to be a top 10 pick, has been criticized for not being a "take-on" linebacker. But that's like downgrading a Ferrari because it doesn't handle well in off-road conditions.

Basically, there are two kinds of linebackers -- those who try to avoid blockers and run to the ball, and those who try to go through blockers. Johnson is the former. Not coincidentally, almost all of the NFL's best linebackers are similar players, including Atlanta's Keith Brooking, Tampa Bay's Derrick Brooks, Denver's Ian Gold, Baltimore's Ray Lewis and Chicago's Brian Urlacher.
Generally speaking, those who can run around blocks do; those who can't take them on. You wouldn't want a linebacker with Johnson's speed to be wasting it wrestling with ogres nearly twice his size.

The reason Johnson has been criticized is he shows no interest in colliding with blockers. In fact, it isn't unusual to see him kind of curl up when a blocker has a bead on him.

"He surrenders," one general manager says. "He looks worse than the norm."

Because of that, a team that runs a 3-4 defense probably won't have much interest in Johnson.
Johnson should be able to improve at taking on blocks if it's demanded of him. Clearly, it was not demanded of him at Texas. Either way, how Johnson handles blocks should not define him."

Well said. Johnson's going to be a star in the league. Scouts that downgrade him aren't seeing the forest for the trees.

petey ain't seein the talent for the longhorns
Post a Comment

<< Home |

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Listed on BlogShares Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com < ? Texas Blogs # >