The Los Angeles Rams made history at the 2023 NFL Draft by selecting Desjuan Johnson, a defensive lineman from the University of Toledo, as Mr. Irrelevant, the nickname for the final pick in the draft.
While Mr. Irrelevant may sound like a dubious honor, it actually celebrates the perseverance and determination of a player who overcomes long odds to make it to the NFL. In this article, we will examine the background, skills, and potential of Desjuan Johnson, and analyze how he fits into the Rams’ defensive scheme.
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Background of Desjuan Johnson
Desjuan Johnson was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Central Catholic High School, where he excelled in football and track and field. Despite his impressive size and athleticism, Johnson was not heavily recruited by major college programs, and ended up at the University of Toledo, a mid-major school in the Mid-American Conference.
However, Johnson made the most of his opportunity, and became a dominant force on the defensive line for the Rockets, recording 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in his senior season. Johnson also earned academic honors, and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Skills of Desjuan Johnson
Desjuan Johnson is a prototypical 3-4 defensive end, who combines size (6’4″, 290 lbs) with strength, agility, and technique. Johnson has long arms, quick hands, and good burst off the snap, which allow him to disrupt offensive linemen and get into the backfield. Johnson also has good instincts and awareness, and can diagnose plays quickly and react decisively.
Johnson is a solid tackler, who uses his leverage and power to bring down ball carriers and quarterbacks. Johnson also has some versatility, and can play multiple positions on the defensive line, depending on the scheme and situation.
Potential of Desjuan Johnson
Desjuan Johnson has the potential to be a steal for the Los Angeles Rams, who need to rebuild their defensive line after losing several key players in free agency. Johnson has the size, athleticism, and technique to be a productive player in the NFL, and could develop into a starter or rotational player for the Rams.
Johnson will need to improve his consistency and stamina, and adjust to the speed and complexity of the NFL game, but he has the work ethic and attitude to do so. Johnson could also contribute on special teams, and add value as a run defender and pass rusher.
Analysis of Desjuan Johnson in the Rams’ defensive scheme
Desjuan Johnson will join a Rams’ defensive line that features Aaron Donald, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and Sebastian Joseph-Day, a promising young nose tackle. Johnson will compete with other defensive linemen, such as A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, and Bobby Brown III, for a roster spot and playing time.
Johnson will likely start as a backup, and work his way up the depth chart through his performance in practice and preseason games. Johnson could play either defensive end or nose tackle, depending on the situation and package. Johnson could also benefit from playing alongside Donald, who could draw double teams and create one-on-one matchups for Johnson.
Desjuan Johnson is not just Mr. Irrelevant, but a relevant player for the Los Angeles Rams, who could contribute to their defense and special teams in the 2023 NFL season and beyond. Johnson has the background, skills, and potential to be a valuable asset for the Rams, and could make his mark as a player who overcame long odds to make it to the NFL. Johnson also embodies the spirit of the Mr. Irrelevant award,