23. Arizona Cardinals
Jermaine Johnson II, DE, Florida State
Arizona’s roster has impact players headed toward free agency all over the place, but one of the biggest is edge rusher Chandler Jones. Coupled with the fact that soon-to-be 33-year-old J.J. Watt is coming off a shoulder surgery, this pass rush — which produced 41 sacks last season, tied for 13th most — could take a step back in 2022. Johnson had 12 sacks and 45 pressures at Florida State in 2021 and then put on a show at the Senior Bowl. Even if the Cardinals lose Jones this March, Johnson could join Markus Golden and Watt to form a solid pass-rush group.
It’s noteworthy that the team’s top-two running backs — James Conner and Chase Edmonds — are also free agents. That said, I don’t see a running back worth even considering in Round 1 this year. Texas A&M’s Isaiah Spiller is my top-rated back, way back at No. 55 on my board. We’ve seen only two first rounds without a running back (2013 and 2014), but this is shaping up to be one of those years.
Johnson was dynamic and explosive in his one year at Florida State and though he probably regrets missing out on a national championship with Georgia, he probably did what was right for his draft prospects.
Johnson is a long, strong edge prospect at just over 6-4 259lbs, with vines for arms at 34 3/8 inches.
He improved yearly, going from 1.5 sacks, to five sacks, to 12 sacks. He had five sacks in only seven games his final year at Georgia while only playing 189 snaps, 94 pass rushing snaps.
I like Johnson and his game likely translates to what the Cardinals need, but in McShay’s mock I would have taken George Karlaftis, who I think has a chance to be special.
What do you think?